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How Well Can Robert Covington Play This Season?


Let’s get something straight. Robert Covington is going to be on the Philadelphia 76ers starting lineup this year. Okay, it’s not known for sure yet, but I don’t know many who would argue that this third year player won’t be good enough to secure a spot there after his good year last year.

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to call last year a breakout year for Covington, I would definitely go as far as saying he made it known that he was deserving of more playing time. He was constantly a player making himself a presence on offense, at one point scoring in double digits in nine out of ten games during the season. There was lots of dark, dreary, and disappointing spots to the Sixers’ year last year, but Covington coming out to play and showing us what he was made of was not one of them.

His scoring was great, at 13.5 points per game (third on the entire team), but that was just the beginning of it. He became a quite well balanced player, averaging 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals as well. Lastly, his nearly five rebounds per game helped the team out quite a bit, too.

His career got a tough start with the Houston Rockets two seasons ago. Unfortunately for Covington, a pretty deep roster left him as a rookie to sit the bench most of the time, averaging less than five minutes per game. He only appeared in seven games as a Rocket, and spent most of the year in the D-League, getting assigned and re-called seven different times. His first season was an exhausting year of moving around from the Rockets to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

As you can imagine, he couldn’t do much with this time, averaging 2.3 points, 0.7 rebounds, and 0.0 assists. These numbers are pretty bad, but it wasn’t Covington’s fault. Not much you can do with seven games and five minutes per game.

In a way (although he had to leave a team that was contending in the playoffs), getting picked up by the third worst team in the league was the best thing to ever happen to Covington. Since signing with the Sixers, he hasn’t seen the D-League (which is a win on its own), and his playing time saw a huge spike.

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Covington finally got a chance to show himself in real NBA action, with significant playing time every single night. He didn’t take this for granted, and throughout the year showed what he was worth. He was dangerous on the three point line most nights, and became a weapon for swinging the ball around the perimeter. In his highest scoring games this year, he had lots of made three pointers.

Covington became a heads up player, ready to know when to take a shot or when to move the ball around a little bit more.

As we head into this next season, we wonder if Covington can keep improving, or if he will simply become stagnant, and be the same player he was last year. Sure, Covington impressed us last year. In fact, if he put up the same numbers, I think I’d be fine with that. I’d be annoyed that he didn’t improve at all, but the numbers are decent.

Going into his third season, this is prime time for him to really nail down some technique in games, and make sure he’s putting up big numbers. His first season was full of D-League, and his last season was his first true “rookie” year. In my opinion, the follow up to the first “big” season is more important than the big season himself.

He’s got to improve. He has to increase his numbers throughout the year. Is it something he’s capable of? Absolutely. Let’s take a look at last year for him per game, and then look at what he was able to do per 36 minutes.

Covington Per Game


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Generated 7/25/2015.

Covington Per 36 Minutes


Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/25/2015.

Comparatively, his stats per 36 minutes show that even last season if he got more minutes, he would have done better. This is typically the case with players, but sometimes it’s not realistic due to the high level of minutes they’re already getting. Covington was getting about 28 minutes last year, and I think he can get more this year, and I think he will get more. Maybe not 36 minutes, but I believe he could be getting up to 33 or 34 minutes a game, as long as he has the stamina to do so.

Stamina shouldn’t be an issue for Covington. In fact, broken down by quarter, Covington’s best shooting percentage quarter-wise was the fourth quarter.

With six extra minutes, he can take more shots than he did last year. This will lead to more shots made, especially if he is able to improve his accuracy even a little bit.

The point is, Covington is going to be a really good player. We can rest our hopes for the future of the Sixers on him, at least for the time being. I fully expect him to improve as a player next season. I believe realistically, we can expect him to be attempting somehwere between twelve and thirteen shots per game, and sinking them around 42%. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is able to surpass this goals, though.

I also expect him to utilize his skills as a three point shooter, and make them even better, bringing that accuracy up to at least 39%.

Overall, it’s a season where Covington has to prove something. He has to show fans that last season was not a fluke. It’s necessary to prove that he’s got what it takes to reach the next level, and I have faith that he can do just that.

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