Covington Embracing New Opportunity
SAN ANTONIO –– In February, Robert Covington was named the MVP of the D-League All-Star Game. In April, he won league Rookie of the Year honors. And earlier this month, the 23-year-old was the first draft-eligible player selected in the 2014 D-League Draft.
For Covington, who went undrafted out of Tennessee State in 2013, those accolades helped motivate him, but they were just means to an end. On Saturday, the 6’9” forward was called up from the Grand Rapids Drive to the Philadelphia 76ers, and he’s looking at it as yet another opportunity to prove that he belongs in the NBA.
“I’m here to work,” he said. “Last year I had a phenomenal D-League season [with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers]. Not only did I play well, I embraced the fact that I was down there. I didn't get discouraged with the fact that I was in the D-League. I knew it was an opportunity that allowed me to get the repetitions that I did.
“When I [was recalled by the Houston Rockets last season] I did the same thing, and I’m bringing that same focus here.”
In 42 games with the Vipers last season, Covington attempted 359 three-pointers, converting 37.0% from beyond the arc and averaging team highs in points (23.2), rebounds (9.2), and steals (2.4) per game.
“He’s a shooter,” said head coach Brown on Sunday. “The challenge will be to get him to guard. He says he promises [to play defense], and that’s a good start.”
Covington knows that he’ll need to be more than just a floor spacer to stick at the next level.
“First and foremost I have to play defense,” he said. “You’re not going to get to the offensive end if you don't get stops. I’m a defensive player. I use my length, and I can rebound and block shots and get in passing lanes.
“I am a very versatile player, and that allows [us to get] opportunities at the offensive end.”
The Sixers’ D-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, began their 2014-15 season on Saturday night, defeating Canton Charge 109-106 on the road in triple overtime. Swingmen D.J. Seeley and Victor Rudd led the way with 20 points each on a combined 14-of-23 shooting. Forward Ronald Roberts logged 45 minutes and pulled down a game-high 19 boards to go along with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
The Sevens are back in action on Saturday, November 22 on the road against the Westchester Knicks.