Six months and 167 three-pointers later, we still haven't agreed upon a suitable nickname for Robert Covington. We gotta do better, Sixers fans.
The first rule of nicknames is that unless you happen to be a stripper, you can't and/or shouldn't bestow one upon yourself (sorry, Black Mamba). So since we can't expect Mr. Covington (aka Big Shot Bob) to give himself a new appellation. It's up to us to assume the mantle for Lord Covington.
And, quite frankly, he deserves it. For myriad reasons, RoCo is one of the easiest right swipes on the Philadelphia 76ers' roster. He has good size (6'9"), he's a fairly capable defender, and he's versatile enough to play three positions.
Most importantly, RC3 also happens to be an exceptional shooter (37.4 percent from beyond the arc last season) who can spread the floor for his teammates. There are very few certainties when it comes to the Sixers, but Covington has as good of a chance as anyone to be on the 76ers' roster three years from now.
And for what it's worth, Covington's value to the Sixers far outweighs what they're due to pay him over the next few seasons. Back in November, Covington agreed to a modified version of the "Hinkie Special" by signing a four-year, $4.1 million partially guaranteed contract. The deal - which came after Covington and his representatives rebuffed the 76ers' first overture - is a bit more lucrative than those typically given to a second-year player. Not bad for a player who only joined a "godless abomination" in Philly "to help the Sixers lose."
Just six months ago, Covington was arguably the best player not signed to an NBA roster. The Grand Rapids Drive selected the former Tennessee State star with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Development League Draft, mere months after he was named to the 2013-14 All-NBA D-League First Team. Covington averaged 23.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during his rookie season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and his D-League success earned him a handful of midseason call-ups to the Houston Rockets.
Bobby Buckets barely got to sip from those few cups of coffee that he received as a rookie (34 total minutes) and he seemed destined for a return engagement to the D-League before the Sixers came calling in early November. It took less than a month for Covington to work his way into the starting lineup, and the 6'9" forward was one of the Sixers' most consistent players this past season (13.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 SPG), earning an invite to the Rising Stars Challenge as well as a third-place vote for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award.
That's not to say that Covington is anywhere close to being a finished product, however. He needs to work on creating offense for himself off of the dribble, and despite stats that may hint otherwise, Covington is still capable of making huge strides defensively.
"I want to just keep getting better as a player," said Covington in an interview with CSN Philly at the end of the season. "I've developed a lot since I've been here... This offseason is going to be big for me."
In an ideal world, Covington is probably the first or second forward off of the bench for a playoff team. That said, his shooting is the X-factor that could (and likely will) keep in the starting lineup for the 76ers for the foreseeable future.
If nothing else, Covington deserves a decent nickname for the fact that he ragged on JaKarr Sampson's hair, saying that his younger teammate looked like Dave Chappelle's character from "The Nutty Professor" (a terrible movie with a great soundtrack, BTW).
So fire up Sixers Tinder (available on the Apple App Store as well as Google Play), swipe right on Bobby Buckets, and fall in love all over again. And while you're at it, try to come up with a better nickname for Covington: He's earned it.
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