Grading the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2021 NBA Draft class

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(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia 76ers
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Charles Bassey could be baby Dwight Howard

And with the 53rd overall, the Philadelphia 76ers select Charles Bassey, a 6-foot-11, 235 pound center out of Western Kentucky.

For a pick that wasn’t even supposed to belong to the Sixers, and surely wouldn’t have if the New Orleans Pelicans weren’t on a cost-cutting mission this summer, the team somehow, through a stroke of brilliance, landed a legit NBA player who could serve as a dirt cheap, 20-year-old version of 2020 Dwight Howard for years to come.

Don’t believe me? Well read on, my friend, read on, for you too may become a fast fan of Conference USA’s 2021 Player of the Year.

Initially born in Lagos, Nigeria, Bassey began playing basketball as a teenager as a member of the Masai Ujiri-established Giants of Africa program, where he was named Most Improved Player at the age of 14. He parlayed this success – and his 6-foot-10 frame – to a scholarship at St. Anthony’s Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas, where he played for two seasons before transferring to DeSales High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

A consensus five-star recruit, Bassey took his talents to Western Kentucky to play for Rick Stansbury and turned in a trio of quality seasons for the Hilltoppers from 2018-21.

As a junior, Bassey averaged a 17.6 and 11.6 double-double a night while recording 87 blocks in 28 games as the Hilltopers’ last line of defense.

And best of all? Bassey hit 76.8 percent of his shots from the free-throw line on 306 collegiate attempts, which is darn good for a big man who mostly scores in the paint.

Did you like Norvel Pelle during his abbreviated tenure with the team? Well, Bassey is like Pelle with an offensive game and more switchability on the defensive end of the court.

Is that worth $2 million of the Harris Blitzer Group’s money? Yeah, I sort of think it is.

Grade A+

Next. Jaden Springer is Philly’s latest defensive project. dark

How would you rate the Philadelphia 76ers’ draft haul? Do you wish the team made some sort of trade for a veteran contributor instead of exclusively selecting sub-22-year-olds? Let us know.