Philadelphia Sixers

Sixers marvel at Robert Covington's transformation

Sixers marvel at Robert Covington's transformation

Updated: Friday, 3:45 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — The Sixers have been through one contract extension already this season. The players were thrilled for Joel Embiid and his payday, for everything he overcame with injuries and the way he had excelled in such a short period of time in the league.

Now it’s Robert Covington’s turn, and there’s a different type of appreciation for the reported four-year, $62 million deal he is set to receive (see story). The team made the extension official Friday, but did not confirm the reported terms of the deal.

"Robert Covington is a prime example of what hard work, dedication, and commitment can lead to," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement Friday. "Rob's growth as a player on both ends of the floor makes him one of the most versatile effective wings in the league, while his contributions of character and professionalism feature prominently in our evolving organizational culture. This extension s both well-deserved, and a really great story."

Covington’s success is a triumphant underdog story, an example of how dedication can transcend an NBA hopeful into a solidified starter. 

The Sixers on Wednesday reacted to the news of Covington's  extension with a theme that echoed around the locker room: well deserved. 

T.J. McConnell
“Coming from a guy who’s also undrafted, I don’t think people realize how hard it is to do what he’s done. To get to where he’s at now, he’s more than deserving. He’s put in the hours. Everything he’s been through in this city and with this team, it’s so well deserved and I’m proud of him.”

Richaun Holmes
“Dinner’s on him (laughs). He deserves it. Cov, we’ve all seen how hard he’s worked since he got here. He tried to turn himself into a tremendous player and he has.”

Nik Stauskas
“For the last couple years, he’s a guy that’s been overlooked. He’s constantly been working on his game and trying to improve himself. The fact that he’s been such a valuable asset to this team and he’s been shooting the ball at such a high percentage, he’s been able to defend some of the other teams’ best players, I think the contract speaks for itself. It’s very well deserved and I think it’s only going to help this team moving forward.”

Amir Johnson
“He’s definitely been playing out of his mind. … It shows how his work ethic is and how he carries himself. … Coming from the D-League, playing in Houston, and now being here in Philly, it’s showing how hard he worked and deserves this new deal he’s getting.”

Dario Saric 
“Now he will really get money where he deserves. I’m really happy because he deserves it. He’s working so hard every day. He always stays after practice, tries to work on his game." 

Jerryd Bayless
“You can see the improvement he’s shown from even last year when I first got here to this year. Well deserved and good for him. Offensively, right now he’s obviously playing out of his mind. It’s great. Defensively, he’s done a lot of good things. He’s handling a lot of passes, he’s deflecting passes, and he helps us."

Joel Embiid, Kevin Hart kill it in postgame interview

Joel Embiid, Kevin Hart kill it in postgame interview

Joel Embiid was legendary on the court Wednesday night (see story).

And he was just as good in his postgame interview with Sixers courtside reporter Molly Sullivan.

He can credit Kevin Hart for an assist, too.

The beloved comedian from Philadelphia was in attendance for Embiid's unforgettable night in which the big man delivered 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks in the Sixers' 115-109 win over the Lakers in Hollywood (see observations).

Hart jumped into the interview to shout an appropriate chant.

Embiid joined right in.

You can watch the interview above. The entire thing is a classic.

Just listen for the part when Embiid is asked at what percent does he feeling like he's playing.

This guy sure knows how to entertain.

And, as you all know, he's not bad on social media, either.

WHAT A NIGHT !!!!! #TheProcess

A post shared by Joel "The Process" Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Joel Embiid 'a big fan' of Lakers' Lonzo Ball

Joel Embiid 'a big fan' of Lakers' Lonzo Ball

LOS ANGELES — Could the Sixers' first matchup against Lonzo Ball and Lakers on Wednesday be drama-free after Joel Embiid’s summer of banter with LaVar Ball?

Seems that way.

“I don’t know him personally but I don’t have anything against him,” Embiid said Tuesday of Lonzo Ball. “I said I love what he’s doing, especially with his own shoe.” 

Embiid’s request on draft night has not been forgotten. His tweet asking Ben Simmons to “please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him” has been retweeted over 52,000 times since June 22. The back and forth between Embiid and Lonzo's father, LaVar, through various media platforms became a major offseason storyline. 

Simmons tweeted “crazy pills” after the senior Ball reacted to his son being drafted by the Lakers and vowed a (seemingly improbable) playoff appearance this season. 

LaVar Ball then took a jab at the Sixers’ record and Embiid’s lack of playing time on 97.5 The Fanatic by saying, “If you don't win and don't even make the playoffs and don't even stay on the court long enough, that's the best thing you can do is tweet.” 

There are two things close to Embiid — his minutes and his social media. 

“F--- LaVar Ball,” Embiid said in a Fourth of July video. He was fined by the NBA. 

But Lonzo Ball is his own player. He’s stayed out of the exchanges and earned the respect of Embiid through his early play. Even though Ball isn’t posting team-leading numbers, he is fulfilling his role as a floor leader. Ball is averaging 9.5 points (31.3 percent shooting from the field, 25.0 percent from three-point range), 7.2 assists and 6.6 rebounds in 33.1 minutes. 

“He’s a great point guard,” Embiid said. “He’s been struggling a little bit shooting the ball but he’s only played like 10, 15 games in the league. It’s all going to come together. But I’m a big fan. He’s a willing passer, especially as a point guard. Having that type of point guard that’s always willing to set guys up is always good.” 

Simmons could get a closer look at Ball in the backcourt. He said he hasn’t watched a lot of him early in the season but they both have strong court vision and are unselfish with the ball. 

“I know he can pass,” Simmons said. “He’s a pretty good player. He can play. He sees the game well, he reads it well, he’s a good player.”

So will this game end up being a quiet battle between two young teams or will commentary ensue?

Stay tuned.