There are several intriguing centers available in the 2021 NBA Draft, including a few that could be great options in the late first round. The New York Knicks could use one of their two first-round picks (19th or 21st) on a big man, if the team chooses not to trade up. One intriguing prospect the Knicks should look at is Charles Bassey.
Bassey, 6’11” and 235 lbs. with a 7’3 wingspan, spent the past three seasons at Western Kentucky. Some mock drafts have the former Western Kentucky big man getting drafted in the late first round, while some have him getting selected in the early second round. He was a two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year (2019, 2021), two-time First-team All-Conference USA (2019, 2021), and the 2021 Conference USA Player of the Year. Bassey averaged 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game on 59.0 percent shooting from the field.
Bassey is an athletic big man with a good frame, wide shoulders, and great mobility for a player his size. He is coming off a solid season at Western Kentucky and showed to be one of the top big men in the country. He showed significant improvements from his sophomore to junior season. The 20-year-old big man plays with great intensity, plays hard on both ends, and runs court well.
Bassey was one of the top shot blockers in NCAA last season (fourth in the country) and was an efficient shooter. He has a great ability to block shots and protects the paint well. The Western Kentucky product showed he can switch on defense and guard players on the perimeter. He has great length and size, which he uses to be a force on the glass (fourth in the country in rebounds). Bassey is a good rim runner especially in transition, finishes good at the rim off alley oops, and is a great screener. The 20-year-old center showed he can knock down threes (29-91) in college and shot well from the charity stripe (75.9%) for a big man.
There are some things that Charles Bassey needs to work on heading into his professional career. He is is raw offensively. He focuses too much on his dominant hand (right) and needs to work on improving finishing with his off hand (left). Bassey needs to work on developing more moves in the paint instead of overpowering defenders like he did in college and needs to work on his face-up game.
Charles Bassey can become solid player if his development continues at next level. He showed he can be a great rebounder and shot blocker at Western Kentucky. Bassey is a raw prospect, but he has great upside.
He can be an effective big man at the next level with his defense (shot blocking and interior defense) and if he develops offensively. Bassey has strengths to his game, but has to work on parts of his game as well. Charles Bassey will need to be surrounded by the right developmental staff to reach his full potential.