Following the Philadelphia 76ers' release of seven-foot big man Charles Bassey, we went on record saying that he could be a fantastic last-minute addition to the roster. And to our surprise, the San Antonio Spurs actually followed through on that wish and signed him to a two-way contract a couple of weeks later. Despite getting some NBA minutes in the Spurs' blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors this past week, he was assigned to the Austin Spurs to continue working on his game.
In Bassey's first game with the Austin Spurs, he put up a monster stat line of 33 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks, having shot 15/20 (75%) from the field. He then followed that game up with a stat line of 19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 assists, having shot 8/15 (53%) from the field. The 22-year-old big man seems to have quickly grown comfortable with his new team and is well on his way to earning a rotation spot in the Spurs' lineups.
Charles Bassey shows why drafting bigs isn't always necessary
We've been long-time fans of Bassey here at Air Alamo dating back to the 2021 NBA Draft when he was selected in the second round. But if there's any lesson that's been taught by his coming out party in Austin this past weekend, it's that good quality bigs can be found outside of the draft. While the 2021 Draft was quite obviously a swing and a miss for the Spurs in retrospect for obvious reasons, being able to pick up Bassey after the fact without having to spend a pick on him makes up for things a bit.
If you want another recent example of a team finding a good rotational big man outside of the draft for relatively cheap, just look at how the Houston Rockets and Bruno Fernando have become a strange match made in heaven.
Outside of this more philosophical lesson, though, we've also learned that Bassey may just be the real deal. Our original analysis of his game from the 2021 Draft stated that he would already be coming into the league as a high-level rebounder and shot-blocker at the very least. His upside as a shooter is what made and continues to make him particularly interesting as a big man prospect. If he were to continue playing like this, he may earn himself some playing time in San Antonio sooner rather than later.
If Bassey continues to improve and is able to stay on the floor and play quality minutes in San Antonio, this could even make Zach Collins expendable. If another team were to believe that he could return to being in his pre-injury form, his inexpensive contract could be seen as very valuable for teams looking for a rotational big on a budget.
As Bassey continues to get more playing time in Austin (and hopefully San Antonio) we'll be sure to keep fans updated on his progress. The Austin Spurs have several days off before playing the Lakeland Magic this coming Friday at 6:00 PM CST.