Two No. 1 overall draft pick rookies; two former lottery pick sophomores; a 13-year veteran who is one of the best sharpshooters the NBA has seen.
Heading into the 2017-18 NBA season, much of the attention surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers centered around the “FEDS” (Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons), and new free agent signing J.J. Redick.
Prior to signing a new four-year, $62 million contract extension this past week, Robert Covington was seen by many as just another guy on this Sixers roster. But it’s time he receives more credit for his reliable play.
This video from Saturday night’s game against the defending champion Golden State Warriors is just one example of his importance to the team’s success:
— NBA (@NBA) November 19, 2017
Covington is the longest tenured player of the “Trust The Process” era of Sixers basketball. Since joining the team early in the 2014-15 NBA season, Covington has played in a total of 219 games, starting 180. That’s by far the most games any Sixers player has played over the past four seasons.
An undrafted player after four years out of Tennessee State in 2013, Covington was an unheralded player. He joined the Houston Rockets summer league team and managed to make the team’s 2013-14 roster. However, he saw a total of just 34 minutes of NBA action as he spent much of the season playing with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Covington’s time in the D-League was saw him become a D-League All-Star, win the All-Star Game MVP, and be named the D-League Rookie of the Year. He re-joined the Rockets summer league team the following summer, but failed to make the regular season roster.
Covington then returned to the D-League, where the Grand Rapids Drive chose him as their No. 1 overall draft pick. His second year in the D-League was short-lived, as the 76ers signed him before playing a single game.
From that point on, Covington has been an underrated part of the “Trust the Process” Sixers. While much of the roster’s young talent have sat out entire seasons due to injury or have been waived or traded away, Covington is still standing.
Currently, he’s averaging a career-high 16.7 points per game on career-high percentages in both field goal percentage (49.7) and three-point percentage (49.1). His increased efficiency is due in part to Simmons’, Embiid’s and Redick’s presence, but also his own work ethic.
Covington can play and defend either forward positions in multiple lineups. He’s just the type of 3-and-D player every NBA team wants and needs. In his four seasons in a Sixers jersey, Covington has been the true embodiment of trusting the process.
Not every player can enter the NBA immediately after college and become a star, or even rotation player. Covington knows that, and his confidence, hard work and determination has finally paid off. This contract extension is just the beginning for the 26-year-old.
It makes sense to mention the names Embiid, Simmons, Fultz, Saric and Redick when the Sixers are a topic. However, it’s time to include Covington’s name, as well. He deserves to have his name attached to the Sixers’ success, as well.