Don’t Be Surprised if Charles Bassey Steps up for Sixers

Charles Bassey
BOWLING GREEN, KY – DECEMBER 07: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers center Charles Bassey (23) slams the ball during a game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on December 07, 2019, at E. A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY. (Photo by Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire)

There has rightfully been a large amount of praise for the play of Andre Drummond over the first half of the Sixers season. Drummond had proven to be the best backup center that Joel Embiid has ever had, but it was necessary to trade him in order for the Sixers to add a second superstar in James Harden. This was undoubtedly the right move, as having backup center problems is much less of a concern than the team lacking top-end talent. With the 18.4 points per game that Drummond averaged now up for grabs, it could be rookie Charles Bassey who is able to jump on this opportunity.

Who is Charles Bassey?

The Sixers spent the 53rd overall pick in the previous draft on the 6’11 big man out of Western Kentucky. Bassey was once the 6th ranked prospect coming out of high school and has been well regarded as a prospect during his evolution as a basketball player. He has played just a total of 161 game minutes so far this season, averaging just 2.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in his limited minutes of play.

Despite the small sample size, there is plenty to be excited about regarding Charles Bassey. He flashes good mobility, impressive defensive instincts, and frankly possesses just about everything you could hope for in a modern-day big man. The 21-year-old still has plenty of learning to do but is in a prime position to see his growth accelerated due to his current skillset and the Sixers situation.

The Impact of James Harden

Aside from Andre Drummond being shipped off in the trade, the addition of James Harden is the biggest reason for this potential bump in minutes. One of the exciting factors of the Embiid and Harden duo is that James Harden has never played with a big man remotely of the talent of Embiid. However, in the minutes that Harden will be on the court without Embiid, he has proven to be quite comfortable playing next to centers with a similar style to Charles Bassey.

Given Harden’s high IQ as a passer and ability to find the smallest windows to pass through, life can be pretty easy at times as the big man on the court with the former MVP. Clint Capela is a great example of a player who is incredibly limited in his skill set but averaged an impressive 12.2 points and 9.7 rebounds during his time with Harden in Houston. The pick-and-roll maestro is an expert at finding his big man as a roller or a lob threat and putting the ball in a place where the defense has no chance to defend it.

Charles Bassey still is not very polished in his shooting and overall offensive game, but some of his best attributes are as a screener with the ability to roll and as a lob threat. Minimizing his on-court responsibility and focusing on him succeeding in these areas could go a long way to allowing Bassey to have a major impact and providing the Sixers offense with a useful new element.

Will Bassey be Given the Additional Minutes?

It is not a guarantee that these minutes will be handed to Charles Bassey as there is competition for the limited minutes in which Joel Embiid rests during a game. The Sixers also added Paul Millsap in the trade, who is on the tail-end of his career but still possesses a veteran savvy and was a four-time all-star during his prime. Millsap fell out of the Nets rotation this season but still is capable of playing some small-ball center minutes and is a capable enough shooter to stretch the floor.

There also has been a rejuvenation in the hopes that Paul Reed can secure some consistent rotational minutes. Bball Paul has seen a bump in his minutes these past two games playing a total of just under 29 minutes in the two matchups. During this time, he has tallied 12 points, 14 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. He is pure madness on a basketball court but in a way that is effective. It has been great to see him get a bump in minutes and to jump at this chance. The switchability that he possesses defensively could be a real asset, but it will be interesting to see how he mixes with James Harden.

There are still plenty of questions surrounding what the rotation will look like. The most important thing is that the Sixers have an NBA-leading duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid in hand and that the other details will fall in place. It will be interesting to watch the backup center rotation develop, but don’t count out Charles Bassey for earning some regular minutes moving forward.