Defense Wins Championships: Robert Covington
Looking for a boost in the conventional defensive categories (blocks, steals, rebounds)? You came to the right place. Welcome to “Defense Wins Championships” – a section of the Dynasty Guru Blog that will spotlight one statistically thriving defensive player. Target them.
Robert Covington has been a part of “the process” for three years now. A valuable part.
The 6-9 small forward has proven to be a commendable fantasy player, particularly in the defensive categories.
Covington’s potential was evident from his days at Tennessee State. With his outstanding length and versatility, RoCo was able to guard multiple positions and recover quickly when beat off the dribble. In his senior season, he averaged 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocks (with a steal percentage of 4.1 and a block percentage of 5.9) in 31 minutes of action. He was also a force on the boards, grabbing 7.4 per contest in his four-year career.
Many thought his ability wouldn’t translate to the professional game, as Covington went undrafted in 2013. They were wrong.
Through 49 games, Covington is 4th in the entire league in steals with 1.92 per (5th in steal percentage with 3.0). In week-to-week matchups, he has proven capable of single-handedly tipping the scales in the steals category. In the fantasy week of February 6th-12th, he had a remarkable 12 pilfers (teams in my dynasty league won steals that week with totals of 28, 30, and 31). His last six outings: 3 steals, 2, 3, 4, 3, 3.
Covington is also averaging 0.9 blocks (41st in the league, ahead of guys like LeBron and Jokic) and 6.2 rebounds (51st in the league, ahead of guys like Thad Young, Carmelo, and Kawhi). He has recorded two or more blocks in just about a quarter of his appearances and has grabbed double-digit boards seven times. This separates him from players like Rubio, who deliver steals but rarely do anything to help you in the other two groups.
And this season isn’t an anomaly. Covington’s career per-36 defensive numbers are as follows: 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, 6.9 rebounds. Here’s a highlight clip from last year:
Check out how the guy uses his ridiculous 7-1 wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and hound his man. It’s Draymond-esque.
I wouldn’t worry about RoCo getting buried on the bench any time soon. He’s been one of the few steady pillars during the lengthy processing period (seeing a boost in minutes every year for the last three), improving each season. He’s also only 26-years-old, so there is much time for development. Philly has him on the books through next season, and if they don’t re-sign him, someone will.
I want to stress that this is all about defense. If you’re looking for a boost in percentage categories or assists, Covington is not your guy. But if you find yourself closely contesting in blocks, steals, and rebounds, and need someone to help you get over the hump, then look no further than the subject of this piece.
And remember, defense wins championships.