Houston Rockets Robert Covington Went Undrafted and Became a Top Defender in the NBA

Robert Covington is in his seventh NBA season and is a key player for the Houston Rockets. Covington came into the NBA as an undrafted free agent, and he had to prove that he belonged in the league.

He did just that, and now he’s one of the league’s top defenders.

Robert Covington’s career before the NBA

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Covington played his college basketball at Tennessee State University. During his freshman year, he averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game. He was named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer team and earned Mid-Major Freshman All-America honors from Collegeinsider.com. Covington spent all four years at Tennessee State and his numbers improved each year.

During his sophomore year, he earned second-team All-OVC honors after averaging 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. Covington had a breakout season in his junior year, earning first-team All-OVC honors. He scored over 1,000 points that year, and he averaged 17.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. 

During his senior year, Covington missed numerous games due to an injury, but he still was able to have a successful season. He finished his career at Tennessee State ranked seventh on the all-time scoring and rebounding list with 1,749 points and 876 rebounds. 

Robert Covington began his NBA career with the Rockets

Covington went undrafted during the 2013 NBA draft, and the Rockets decided to bring him on for the 2013 NBA Summer League. In July of 2013, he signed a multi-year deal with Houston. During the 2013-14 season, he only played in seven games with the Rockets as he spent most of his time playing in the NBA Development League for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Covington had a lot of success playing with the Vipers. 

He was named the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year after averaging 23.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.4 steals. Covington also earned MVP honors in the D-League All-Star game after scoring 33 points, which was a record. After an impressive run in the D-League, Covington signed a four-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2014.

Robert Covington made a name for himself in the NBA

Covington spent almost five seasons in Philadelphia. During his time there, he put up impressive numbers averaging double-digits in each season. He became a full-time starter during the 2016-17 season. Philadelphia was establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and Covington was a key player on the team. In 2018 he was named to the All-Defensive First Team. At 6-foot-7, Covington can guard the small and power forward position well. He has good hands and can stay in front of whoever he’s guarding.

During the 2018-19 season, Covington started in 13 games for the 76ers and was then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Covington played in 22 games when he joined the Timberwolves and missed the remainder of the season due to an injury. The next season, Covington played in 48 games with the Timberwolves and found himself traded again during the season. This time to the Rockets, who he began his career with. Covington is playing in the playoffs for the second time in his career, and he will continue to look to make an impact on whatever team he’s playing for.