One of the few bright spots over the last two miserable seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers has been Robert Covington, who might be in for a breakout season as he enters what is pretty much a contract year.
The 25-year old small forward has been one of the few players from the Sam Hinkie era to show some offensive consistency since joining the Sixers, averaging 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 28.2 minutes per game, shooting 36.3% from beyond the arc. Of course, this could be just someone filling the void of anyone good on this team.
Covington might not be All-Star quality, but he’s a solid starter on a team like the Sixers, that’s stacked in the frontcourt, but rather weak on the wings, considering all the high picks the team has had over the last few years focused on building a massive frontcourt, which the Sixers will soon have to break up.
Regardless of who Philadelphia choose to keep from the combination of Noel, Okafor, Embiid, Simmons and Saric, defenses will probably be focusing on their big-man tandem most of the time, leaving guys like Covington with plenty of opportunities to do some damage from the outside.
Covington did have a small dip in his numbers last season but he also dealt with a nagging injury for parts of the season, missing 15 games (he has missed 25 over the last two seasons). The Sixers don’t seem to be worried about a small decline in his numbers, and believe next season could be the year Covington establishes himself as a solid building block in their attempt to put the last few years behind them.
Covington, an undrafted rookie in 2013, will be making $1.01 million next season, and the Sixers have a team option worth $1.08 million. Even without significant improvement, keeping him for this incredible discount of a price feels like a no-brainer. In fact, Covington doesn’t have that much of an incentive to do that great (at least from a financial standpoint). He’ll make more in the open market, which he is likely to hit only in the 2018 summer.