Position: Small forward
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Status for 2017-18: Club option -- $1,577,230
Covington in 2016-17
Covington started his season with an awful shooting slump. The fans grew frustrated, booing Covington every time he jacked up a shot. But Covington kept firing and eventually broke out of it. He shot just 28 percent from three during his first 30 games, then found his stroke over the next 37 games, hitting 38 percent.
What stands out the most about Covington is his improvement on the defensive end. He specialized in guarding wings but really guarded four different positions this season. He used his length to be disruptive in passing lanes. He finished fourth in the NBA with 1.9 steals a game. He also averaged a block a game, impressive for a guy who primarily guards wings.
Covington missed the last eight games of the season with a torn meniscus. He underwent surgery earlier this week and is expected to resume basketball activities this summer.
Dealing with pain in his knee -- which would later be revealed as the aforementioned meniscus injury -- Covington saved his finest performance for last. In a gritty win over the Brooklyn Nets on March 28, Covington finished with 21 points on 9 of 15 shooting with 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He was just 1 of 6 from three, proving that his value to the Sixers is far greater than just his shot.
Looking ahead to 2017-18
Covington enters the last year of his deal. President of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has already said signing Covington to an extension is something the team needs to address.
It'll be interesting to see where the Sixers wind up in the draft lottery. In a draft rich with guards and wing players, Covington's status in the starting lineup may be in doubt. With that said, Covington has proven to be an valuable piece to this team going forward.
"Robert Covington is a valued piece of this organization. He's really evolved into a player that we want to make part of this organization on a longer-term basis. And he deserves a lot of credit for what he has done as a young player committed to getting better. He has become a really solid, established player at that three-and-D wing position."
-Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo