While the preseason hasn’t even started, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to take a look at some NBA Draft prospects. The first several of these will look at lottery picks even if they may not be in the range of the Spurs’ potential pick.
While Las Vegas doesn’t think the team will make the playoffs, just about everyone disagrees with that prediction and believes the Spurs will be picking outside of the lottery once again. So without further ado, we get to today’s prospect to watch in Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey.
The 6-foot-11, 225-pound forward/center has a chance to be something special in the 2019 NBA Draft after reclassifying to the 2018 recruiting class and entering school a year earlier than expected. He’s got some great upside and has shown flashes of what he could look like as a finished product and prospect. As it stands right now, he’s got a few things to work on, but of course also has several aspects of his game that stand out among his peers.
Among the traits that Bassey has, his motor has to be one of the best ones. It never stops churning and it allowed him to be a high level player in high school. Thanks to his motor, he got a ton of rebounds on both ends of the floor and of course a lot of putback buckets. He’s also an explosive leaper, which has helped him as a finisher. He tries to dunk most of his shot attempts around the rim and is a great alley-oop target thanks to his height and his 9-foot-2 standing reach.
The big man is also a fluid athlete and makes the game looks effortless and smooth when he’s on the court. He gets by defenders in the open court with his long strides and ability to handle the ball in that open space. His handle is good enough to initiate the offense, but it remains to be seen if it’s good enough to do so at the collegiate level. He also has the versatility to play a few different positions, which is a major part of today’s NBA game.
Of course, being as young as Bassey is — he’ll turn 18 in October — he still has some things to work on before he truly becomes a lottery prospect. He has a solid-looking jump shot as it stands, but it will have to become much quicker and a little less mechanical. He doesn’t shoot many threes, but he can hit them given enough time and space. If he can extend his range out there — he already shoots well in the mid-range — he will become the prototypical three-point shooting big man of today’s game.
While the young man has made a killing on the defensive end so far, he does tend to be foul prone and can be undisciplined at times. Part of that is his heavy reliance on his athleticism rather than using basketball IQ to make plays defensively. Once he learns a bit more about the game from coach Rick Stansbury, he should be in better shape in that regard.
Bassey should also get a chance to stand out in this class if he develops his left hand finishes around the rim as well as expanding his catalog of low post moves. He has a couple of nice go-to moves with a short hook shot and a pump fake to get by his defender. If he improves those things as well as his ball handling and decision making in the post, he will have a great foundation to work with by the time he gets drafted next June.