NBA: Sixers coach hails Bassey’s improvement

PHILADELPHIA 76ers head coach, Doc Rivers, and point guard, Tyrese Maxey, have hailed the improvement of Charles Bassey, in recent games.

Bassey scored a career-high 12 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and a plus 20 efficiency in 19 minutes in the Sixers’ 103-89 win over the Denver Nuggets last Saturday, also scoring six points and grabbing six rebounds in their 118-111 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

The Nigerian centre was a second round 53th overall seletion by the Sixers in the 2021 NBA draft. He has stepped up his performance for the team despite missing the Summer League, a competition set aside for rookies to aclamatise themselves with the rigorous demands of the NBA due to contract issues.

The 21-year-old received accolades after stepping up to comfortably fill the spot left by centre Joel Embiid against the Nuggets after the Cameroonian contracted COVID-19.

Bassey defended hard against the current NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokić, reducing the Serbian to just two points in the loss.

Rivers was full of praise for the 6 ft 9 in centre.

“Bassey was great,” said coach Doc Rivers. “You can see it, his IQ. He got three blocks from behind because he read the play.

“I think he had two or three rebounds where he caught it and instead of trying to go out and turn it over, threw it out that led to threes, he did a lot of good things.

“He blocked Jokic’s shot one time so that was good. I’m happy for him.”

Maxey, who played high school basketball against Bassey in Texas said, “I first met Charles when I was a freshman in high school,” Maxey recalled.

“He was ranked the No. 1 player in Texas. I was the No. 2 player in Texas. I know he can do this. I just told him when I was back there, I said, ‘Man, that’s the Charles Bassey that I know from high school.’ Keep doing that, keep your confidence high, keep working, you’ll be great.”