Sixers: Ranking backup center options ahead of playoffs

DeAndre Jordan, James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
DeAndre Jordan, James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Ranking the Sixers’ backup centers — 2. Charles Bassey

It’s probably not a fireable offense for Doc Rivers to play DeAndre Jordan over the reigning 53rd overall pick. Charles Bassey has spent most of his season in the G-League, where he looks quite good. As we know, however, G-League success does not always correlate to NBA success.

That said, the brief flashes we’ve seen from Bassey at the NBA level have been equally promising. He was one of the most dominant and prolific rim protectors in college basketball, and while a player’s conquests at Western Kentucky must be taken with a grain of salt, Bassey’s elite physical frame made him a five-star recruit coming out of high school. He has been on NBA radars for a long time.

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Bassey is averaging 13.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per 36 minutes with Philadelphia. That’s a potentially misleading number, but the essence is truthful — Bassey can rebound the ball at a high level and provide ample blocked shots inside. He forces guards to think twice about venturing to the rim, and unlike Jordan, he’s young and spry. Bassey can move his feet in space, he can switch on the perimeter in a pinch, and he can do everything Jordan can offensively (69.8 percent on 2-point field goals in 168 NBA minutes).

In his very limited minutes on the court, Bassey has showcased excellent footwork operating out of the pick-and-roll. He’s tailor-made to Harden’s skill set, and it would be smart to think long term and allow Harden to get accustomed to (possibly, if not probably) his long-term running mate at backup center. Foul trouble is Bassey’s only real vice, but in 10-15 minutes per game, it’s hardly a deal breaker.