Philadelphia 76ers: What happens if Charles Bassey isn’t ready?

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Coming into the summer, there were few players fans were more hyped up to see suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers than Charles Bassey.

Sure there was Jaden Springer, the new guys – Trevelin Queen, Michael Foster Jr., Julian Champagnie – and third-year dudes like Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe who didn’t really have much business playing in Las Vegas and/or Utah at all, but Bassey fit perfectly into that Goldielocks territory of still being a prospect but having enough experience to presumably dominate the younger competition.

Except, that isn’t what happened.

No, despite having more than a few highlight plays, Bassey has largely underwhelmed in the Summer League and looks like the sort of performer who will spend the majority of the forthcoming season on the bench, if not lent down to the G-League to further develop.

If that’s the case, and Charles Bassey just can’t be counted on to play more than garbage time minutes, at least right away, how will it affect the Philadelphia 76ers’ plans moving forward? Well, let’s try to find out.

The Philadelphia 76ers have to keep their options open at center.

Alright, so first and foremost, let’s say the Philadelphia 76ers want to keep Charles Bassey and the rest of their 15-man one-way roster intact and simply want to upgrade on the margins. If that’s the case, the obvious play is to release Julian Champagnie from his two-way contract and use that spot to sign Michael Foster Jr. to take his place.

Foster Jr. has been one of the true standouts of the Sixers’ Summer League team, and even after signing an Exhibit 10 contract, which basically secures him a spot on the Blue Coats this fall, his ability to impact a game is much greater and worthy of a larger look. Factor in Champagnie’s unspectacular play in Summer League, and it’s hard to justify keeping Foster off the 17-man roster if all things are equal.

That route, my friends, is the easiest way for the Sixers to augment their roster without doing something drastic, but hey, what if Morey wants to do something a little drastic? What if he instead wants to free up a roster spot – one way or another – and actually sign a legitimate veteran center who can soak up minutes against bigger reserves when Paul Reed is on the bench and/or at power forward?

Well, good news, there are a few interesting options in free agency.

From Dwight Howard to Ed Davis, Markieff Morris, Eric Paschall, and even Joel Embiid’s old rival Hassan Whiteside, a team looking for a veteran minimum center can still scoop up a decent enough option if they so see fit without breaking the bank.

Is that the option the Sixers should pursue? I mean, unless they really like a young-ish player like Paschall, probably not, but hey, it’s an option if they don’t feel that either Foster or Bassey are quite ready to legitimately contribute.  Cutting any player for Whiteside would be a bummer, but if a roster spot frees itself up in, say, a 2-for-1 trade, why not give him a shot and see how he does until a better option becomes available later in the season? Though it may take a mandate from the higher-ups to keep Reed locked in as C2, having an analytical defensive darling who can start when Embiid is out isn’t the worst idea.

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Ultimately, it’s impossible to know exactly who will be on the Philadelphia 76ers’ game one center rotation, because we don’t know who will make the roster. Daryl Morey could still pull off a trade(s), a young player could blow up in the preseason, or an unexpected performer could hit the buyout market that changes everything. Still, after entering the Summer League with a pretty good idea of the center depth, Charles Bassey’s struggles in Utah/Las Vegas could alter the team’s plans moving forward, even if that just means playing P.J. Tucker at center a bit more often.