RoCo: The Overlooked Sixers Star

“I’ve always been overlooked when I step on the court. I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder, because I’ve been overlooked in my career. That’s what I’m used to, and everything happens for a reason.” – Robert Covington

The Process is in full fruition, with Fultz, Embiid, Saric, and Simmons all available to play. The Philadelphia 76ers are at a situational 6-5 record, being above .500 for the first time since 2013! They had a great 5 game win streak after a shaky 1-4 start. While the city of Philadelphia, and quite frankly the entire world, are praising the FEDS, not enough attention goes to Robert Covington, the undrafted 26 year old from Tennessee State. As a 4th year member of the Sixers, he has been one of the few to push through the entire process, being the only sixer remaining from the 2014-2015 NBA season. He fought through a lot in his last 3 years, but he, along with the new generation of Sixers, are ready to make a huge impact on the league.

Robert Covington is having a great start to the 2017-2018 season. In just 11 games, he averages 16.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.3 APG. In his previous 3 seasons as a Sixer, RoCo only averaged 13 PPG, and had close to identical stats in the other two categories. While the main stats may not seem too appealing for a starting forward, his in-depth stats prove his abilities.

Here are some statistics in comparison to the rest of the NBA:

3PM → 41 (5th in NBA)

3P% → .500 (8th in NBA)

AFG% → .642 (7th in NBA)

STPG → 1.45 (28th in NBA)

+/- → +76 (13th in NBA)

In my opinion, the most significant stat from this list is his adjusted field goal percentage (AFG%). At .642, he ranks 7th in the NBA, something that definitely should not be overlooked. The adjusted field goal percentage takes a player’s FG% and factors in the amount of points accrued per field goal attempt. Therefore, it gives a better statistic on which players are benefitting from behind the arc more than the rest. Given this information, we can see that RoCo’s tendency to take more 3 pointers actually benefits the team, rather than bring down the possible points scored per attempt. If you watch him play, you’ll see that he loves throwing it up from behind the arc, already taking 81 attempts in the first 11 games this season. While many fans may complain that he is blowing team opportunities, his AFG proves them all wrong. Yes, I agree that some of his shots seem absolutely forced, but when push comes to shove I’d trust him with the game winning shot (Anyone remember his game winning 3-pointer against the Trail Blazers last year?). Covington is currently shooting 50% from 3-point range on 7.5 attempts per game, something no player in NBA history has EVER done.

One aspect of his gameplay that doesn’t get enough attention is his defensive abilities. You can’t see these things on a stat sheet, but RoCo is a BEAST when it comes to one-on-one defense. Whether it’s a point guard or a big man, he keeps his body in front of his opponent at all times. Last year, he was 4th in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. Now, he wasn’t even close to beating the winner (Draymond Green), but he outbeat superstars like Lebron James and Hassan Whiteside. So far this season, in comparison to NBA small forwards, he is 7th in blocks per game, and 6th in steals per game. These statistics are pretty high up in the league, floating around players like Kevin Durant and Lebron James. He has a tenacious physical game style when guarding his own net, intimidating every player he faces. However, his physical defense has caused him issues, giving him 44 personal fouls (2nd in NBA) so far this season.

In recent news, Robert Covington is eligible to sign an extension contract on November 15th, and league sources claim that Philadelphia is ready to exercise this deal. RoCo’s current $1.5 million dollar salary may bump up to nearly $15 million dollars for the rest of the season, with an idea of a 3 to 4 year contract extension. This will be a key re-signing for the Sixers, holding on to their 3-point specialist and defensive powerhouse. The future of the Sixers looks VERY appealing, given the young talent they have. RoCo may be one of the older guys in the locker room, but 26 years old is still young compared to the rest of the league. We will see how his upcoming contract extension affects his gameplay. For now, let us sit back, enjoy, and TRUST THE PROCESS!

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