Philadelphia 76ers: Charles Bassey is finally officially a Sixer

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Charles Bassey is officially a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

It seems like a month hasn’t passed since his name was called on July 29th at the Barclay Center that a story hasn’t circulated about Bassey remaining unsigned, about his absence from Summer League, or a reported desire to sign a one-year, non-guaranteed contract a la K.J. McDaniels’ ill-advised efforts back in 2015.

Well, fear not Philly fans, as this time, it’s officially official; Charles Bassey has signed a three-year deal with a full guarantee in Year 1 and a partial guarantee in Year 2.

… what, you still don’t believe me? A bit too much, “Boy cried Bassey,” got you gunshy on believing this totally unnecessary saga is over? Well, when the @Sixers confirms the news, I’d say it’s officially official.

Three years of Charles Bassey should pay dividends for the Philadelphia 76ers.

In college, Charles Bassey was a statistical darling.

Measuring in at 6-foot-11, 235 pounds, Bassey averaged 15.9 points, 2.6 blocks(!), and 10.5 rebounds in 20.5 minutes of action a night for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

While some may quibble with those numbers due to his level of competition, as Western Kentucky plays in Conference USA, Bassey showed out every time he took the court against a bigger foe, dropping an 11-12 double-double in his first collegiate game versus Washington, 14 and nine versus Louisville as a sophomore, and a career-highlight 27-12 when the Hilltoppers took their show to Alabama for a December 19th, 2020 showdown versus the Crimson Tide.

Could some Conference USA bias have played into where Bassey was drafted? Sure, considering there hasn’t been a player selected in the top-15 of an NBA Draft out of the conference since Rodney White went ninth overall way back in 2001, I’d say that’s fair. But in the NBA, much like all sports really, it’s not how you got to the party but how you performed once you’ve arrived.

Even if Bassey’s camp expected to be drafted higher than 53rd overall – which is understandable because, again, look at those stats – he’s a member of the Philadelphia 76ers now for at least the foreseeable future and has a golden opportunity to learn from a pair of centers with a ton of experience at the NBA level.

Not a bad consolation prize if you ask me.

Had Bassey agreed to that one-year deal, he’d have surely tried to ball out every time he touched the ball, as even garbage time minutes could serve as an audition of sorts for a prospective free agency home the following offseason. In theory, that could have been good, as any time you can get plus-performances out of a third-string center is good for business, but Bassey could have just as easily overreacted in his limited opportunities, rushed his shots, and put a bunch of sloppy play on tape.

Instead, Bassey will be allowed to ease into his NBA career, playing some with the Sixers and some with the Delaware Blue Coats, all the while continuing to work on his game and develop that coveted 3 point shot that can make a reserve center far more financially valuable.

Considering Andre Drummond will be a free agent next summer, and Doc Rivers has a weird disdain for playing Paul Reed at the five, Bassey could be playing serious rotational minutes for a playoff team as a four-five combo reserve behind Joel Embiid moving forward.

That, my friends, would be a very positive return for a late second-round pick.

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While many a fan knows that Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers purchased the pick eventually used to select Charles Bassey for $2 million from the New Orleans Pelicans, some forget that this transaction happened before the draft officially got underway. That means the team had no idea Bassey would be there when they got on the clock, and, considering they selected Filip Petrušev three picks earlier, it’s clear the collegiate Hilltoper wasn’t even their first choice come the final 10 picks of the second round. But, again, it’s not how you got to the party but how you perform once you’ve arrived. Even if the path to Philly wasn’t without its maddening detours, Bassey is here, and frankly, we all should be excited to see what he brings to the table.