Early into this season Sixers fans can finally breathe. After all the years of historic losing and stacking up high drafts picks and saying “next year will be different” have come to a close. Sam Hinkie’s master plan later nicknamed “the process” has worked. The Sixers finally have the bright young core that we have all been waiting for headlined by rookie phenom Ben Simmons and a finally healthy Joel Embiid. But along the way of stocking assets in the draft Hinkie made a below the radar move that paid off tremendously.
Back in 2014 the Sixers signed forward Robert Covington. Convington’s journey in basketball has been far from normal but all of his hard work has finally payed off. Covington took the road less traveled and stayed in college for all four years where he played at Tennessee State. Upon finishing school Covington entered his name into the 2013 NBA draft where he would go undrafted. That summer the Houston Rockets invited him to play for their summer league team and later signed him to a deal. Although signing a deal with the Rockets Covington only played seven games with the team and spent most of his one season with them in the D-league where he shined. Robert was named to the D-league all star team and went on to win D-league rookie of the year. He was then let go by the Rockets and in 2014 signed a deal to come play in Philadelphia.
In his first couple of seasons with the Sixers Covington put up solid numbers for a team in the process of a complete rebuild but was not a fan favorite in Philly. Robert was heavily criticized for his three point shooting but always showed great upside on the defensive end of the ball. Things began to change last season when the team got a little bit better with the debuts of Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. With the talent rising around him so did Covington’s game. He continued to better his game on defense and stepped up his offensive game including a game-winning three point field goal to beat to Portland Trail Blazers. He continued his solid play through the entire season and at the end of the year received one first place vote for defensive player of the year.
Fast forward to this season and Covington has elevated his game even more. !4 games into this season and Covington is averaging a career high 16 points a game. His three point shooting has strongly improved, he is currently shooting 49% from beyond the arc which is eighth best in the league and if fourth in the league with three pointers made with 50. Covington’s long and hard path in professional basketball hit its peak when just this past week the Sixers offered him a four year, 62 million dollar extension. From undrafted player to a main piece to a young team on the rise Robert Covington’s story is one of a kind.