As we make our way toward the regular season, we’ll be examining what would constitute a successful season for various members of the roster. Previously covered: Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Joel Embiid, Zhaire Smith. Next up, Robert Covington.
Robert Covington is coming off an award-winning season where the rest of the NBA was put on notice of just how good he is. For a couple years, he was one of the Sixers’ top options on offense, and now he has come into his own as one of the secondary scorers in the starting lineup. For everything great that he did last year, there were also some rough patches that hurt the team. The hope is that he can learn from those and turn a corner towards more consistency.
As last year showed, defense is never going to be a problem for Covington. For his efforts on that end of the court, he was named to the NBA’s First Team All-Defense team and has been praised as one of the best two-way wings in the league. His ability to defend his position, and even come down low and help out against bigger opponents, allows teammates to try a few extra risks, knowing they have a rock solid defender backing them up. Seemingly always getting his hands on the ball, Covington is as consistent as they come on the defensive side of the court; it’s his offense that sometimes lags behind.
By the very nature of the job, NBA three-point shooters are streaky. Did Covington go through stretches where he was red hot, followed by times where he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat? Yes, but what outside shooter doesn’t have those problems? Covington actually had his second best season shooting the ball from deep, shooting 37% from three-point range. The problem was that he went through so many dry spells that made him feel inconsistent, especially come playoff time.
It’s no secret that Covington basically became invisible by the time playoffs rolled around. It was one of two extremes for him, either shooting the ball from anywhere as soon as he touched it, or playing passive to a fault. He was never able to find his rhythm, hurting the team because he brings a sense of stability on both sides of the court when he is on his game.
For Robert Covington to have a successful season, he will need to exercise some of his postseason demons. He won’t be asked to do any more than he did last year, just keep up with the production he proved he can put out last season. What he needs to do in his limited touches is find a happy medium of letting the three-ball fly, while also being conservative enough to allow his teammates to thrive.
Besides shooting from outside, it would be nice to see Covington take the ball inside himself at times. He’s been a great option on cuts to the lane, but let’s see him add an extra dimension to his game by handling the ball on drives, reportedly a focus for him during the offseason. Defenses already respect his outside shot; he could become even more dangerous if they don’t know whether or not he is going to drive or shoot.
Robert Covington is one of the greatest success stories of The Process, and primed to take another step forward this year. Now given the national respect he deserves, Covington has the chance to put together another successful season by fixing some minor flaws in order to help take the Sixers to another level.