The Sixers selected Serbian tall man Filip Petrusev with the 50th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, taking a leaflet on an interesting prospect that made for an unorthodox trip to the pros. Philadelphia followed that up by adding another great man at No.53, the great man from West Kentucky, Charles Bassey.
If you’re a die-hard West Coast Conference basketball fan, you’re probably familiar with Petrusev, who played two years for Gonzaga (2018-19 and 2019-20) and went from being a low-minute player to a limb. ultra-productive. of a team 31-2 Gonzaga. In his final year with Gonzaga, Petrusev had 17.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and made 56.2% of his shots, with most of those stares happening around the rim. A comeback to 2020-21 might have helped the Bulldogs move past the top and win the national title they lost to the Baylor Bears in March, but with COVID weighing on the NCAA season, Petrusev has made the choice. to leave Gonzaga and take his talents back abroad.
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“There are a lot of uncertainties with the NCAA season,” Petrusev said last summer. “Here I should be able to showcase some skills that I couldn’t master at Gonzaga and improve my draft stock.”
Petrusev has adapted for a familiar friend: KK Mega Basket, a Serbian Adriatic League team that previously employed Sixers first-round pick Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. All the 21-year-old has done there is win the league MVP, averaging 23.6 points and 7.6 rebounds while expanding his lineup all the way to the three-line. points, a potentially important development as he makes the transition to the NBA. He was a great finisher around the basket, and if you combine that with a legitimate three-point shot, he could open the floor and serve as a combined pick-and-roll / pick-and-pop partner for the Philadelphia bench keepers. .
(On the flip side, there are some major defensive issues. Scouts say Petrusev isn’t particularly long, doesn’t move sideways well, and will have a hard time holding up when he passes to perimeter players. These are all major issues in a position where defense is king.)
Compared to many European imports, however, the Sixers may not have much time before they get here. Petrusev may want to join the NBA sooner rather than later, which defeats the goal of having an international guy at the end of the second round. A source told PhillyVoice that they expect Petrusev to be a hiding place, which is good news for now, even if it is only a year from now.
On the other side of the coin is Charles Bassey, a western Kentucky center who spent his formative years in Nigeria, starting out as a football player and eventually moving on to basketball (rising to 6’11 ” After moving to the United States for the high school prom, Bassey would eventually have a productive three-year career at Western Kentucky, with his second season cut short by injury.
There are skills and traits that should translate quite easily to the next level. Bassey runs hard ground, is a good lob target with excellent finishing ability, and you can expect him to bury guys under the ledge on poster dunks. He’s also pretty huge – Bassey has a standing reach of nine and a half feet, and the same athletic tools that make him a powerful lob target help him around the basket. Bassey will suck the guys towards him coming off screens, which will be useful for the young ball players he would expect to play with on the second unit. His second jump ability is excellent and Bassey’s timing allows him to block a ton of shots in the paint, with Bassey blocking more than three shots per game last season.
Unlike many of the former soccer players you see playing down center, Bassey does have a few issues with his footwork (although oddly enough they are a force in some ways on offense). The Boy Scouts are questioning his ability to defend in space to the next level, and although the Sixers have moved away from that under Doc Rivers and Dan Burke, Bassey is widely seen as a guy who is best suited to play the game. NBA coverage. He’s also not a very good shot, won’t give you anything as a passer or ball handler, and needs to be a better offensive decision maker overall. Bassey has returned the ball too many times in college, and that will make him shoot quickly if he has any luck with the big club.
The result here: None of these guys are likely to play a backup role for Philly right away, with time needed overseas or with the G-League squad to level up and sort things out. problems of their games. That’s to be expected with late second round picks, but it does mean Philly has some big buys to do this summer.
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