Sixers’ Summer Roster Casualty Sounds Off on Doubters Amid Fresh Start

charles bassey philadelphia 76ers

Getty Charles Bassey #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

It wasn’t long ago that Charles Bassey was cheering on his Philadelphia 76ers from the bench. The former Western Kentucky University big man spent all of one season with the Sixers: his rookie year, last season. Over that stretch, Bassey shot nearly 64 percent from the field, albeit in just 23 appearances.

But heading into this season, the Sixers faced a roster crunch. After carrying more than the 15-player max set by the league, the Sixers cut Bassey. The move came as little surprise; Bassey was the low person on a centers-only totem pole that included Joel Embiid, Paul Tucker, Montrezl Harrell,  and Paul Reed as players capable of playing the five.

Now stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a Sixers roster casualty is thriving in a new spot. With the San Antonio Spurs this season, Bassey has already over-doubled his points total last season and showing some (minor) playmaking chops. And on November 12, Bassey took to social media to share a message for his doubters.

“They didn’t believe in us GOD DID!!!,” Bassey tweeted.

A Peak Behind Bassey’s Excellent Start with Spurs

So far, Bassey is earning rave reviews from coaches in the Lone Star State. After crushing a short stint in the G-League Coach Gregg Popovich explained that the Spurs had re-evaluated Bassey’s role.

“He came in and played a couple of G League games, scored a thousand points, it was like, well, maybe we’re dumb, we should be playing this guy,” per Tom Petrini of Ken 5 San Antonio.

Popovich further elaborated on what Bassey brings to the table, in a review that should make Sixers fans scratch their heads.

“He’s aggressive, he’s a good defender, he moves the ball well — for not knowing what the strategy is offensively or defensively, he’s caught on very quickly,” per Matthew Tynam of The Athletic.

This begs the question: why didn’t Bassey showcase this in Philadelphia? The “Spurs Culture” is legendary; for two decades, San Antonio was a masterclass organization, headlined by legends on and off the floor: coach Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, and Tony Parker. That’s not even counting the lesser-knowns who made a career in the Alamo City, including former Sixer Danny Green and current French national team coach Boris Diaw.

The failed development of yet another player is simultaneously unsurprising and maddening.

Sixers’ Player Development Under Scrutiny

Count Bassey as one of the latest failed projects hauled into the City of Brotherly Love. For every Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid, there is a seemingly endless string of developmental horror stories. It’s a problem touched on recently by Sean Barnard, my colleague at Heavy Sports.

“This is a problem that lies beyond just Bassey. The Sixers have developed Paul Reed at a snail’s pace and shown an unwillingness to give him on-court minutes. Jaden Springer was selected with the 28th overall pick last year and has played a total of 10 minutes at the NBA level. Matisse Thybulle is the exact same player he was when he came out of college four years ago and there is an argument to be made that he has regressed. Tyrese Maxey is the lone exception to this, but this is a larger credit to the young guard’s relentless work ethic and how Ben Simmons’ holdout opened the door for him to have an expanded on-court opportunity.”

We can go even further than Barnard’s analysis. Remember Markelle Fultz? Jahlil Okafor? Nerlens Noel?

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