76ers

Robert Covington seeking to expand game beyond 3-point shooting

Robert Covington led the Sixers in three-point attempts the past two seasons. That most likely will change, not just because of the additions of guards JJ Redick and Markelle Fultz.

This summer, Covington has been expanding his offensive game as he enters his fifth NBA season. 

“I’ve been working on a lot more stuff off the dribble, a lot of different finishes, different floaters, different ways to get to the basket,” Covington said last week at the Sixers’ Summer Shore Tour in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. “[I’ve been working on] creating also because I know a lot of people know I can shoot already, but I have to broaden aspects of my game.”

Covington shot 33.3 percent from three off 6.1 attempts per game. He took 413 shots from long range compared to 210 at the rim, according to BasketballReference.com

The small forward’s outside looks will be dispersed with his new teammates. The Sixers invested $23 million in Redick to be a sharpshooter, among other roles. Last season, Redick attempted 468 treys, tied for 14th in the league with Kyle Lowry. 

Covington is on board with changing up his shots to fit into the Sixers' system.

“The core is going to be dynamic because it’s so versatile,” he said. “There’s so many skill sets that a number of guys can play different positions. We have that chemistry, that grit, that fight in us. Guys want to make us get better. The intensity of everything is going to be heightened this year because of the guys we have."

Covington and Joel Embiid likely will be the only two starters that carry over from last season. Fultz, Redick and Ben Simmons are likely to round out the starting five, with the 6-foot-10 Simmons taking on point guard responsibilities.

“It’s going to be very good for us because we’re going to be able to switch a lot,” Covington said. “It’s going to make us that much more versatile, that much more deadly as a team. Then we’re going to have depth, guys on the bench that can come in and do the same thing. To have people that come in and fill that void that we have, there won’t be much letdown.”

Covington’s first three seasons with the Sixers were about rebuilding and trying to build a foundation amid injuries. That includes Covington, who underwent surgery in April to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee. He said he “absolutely” will be ready for training camp in late September. Feeling healthy on a revamped roster, Covington finally can look ahead beyond the regular season. 

“It’s thrilling because we've got that same expectation [as the fans to make the playoffs],” he said. “The way things are opening up, opportunity is definitely there. It’s just a matter of us seizing it."