Robert Covington

Robert Covington, Joel Embiid named to NBA All-Defensive teams

Robert Covington, Joel Embiid named to NBA All-Defensive teams

Robert Covington and Joel Embiid were recognized for their defensive efforts this season.

Covington was named to the All-Defensive first team, Embiid was selected to the second team.

Brett Brown has lauded Covington for his effort plays. He led the league in deflections (3.9), ahead of Paul George and Victor Oladipo. When Covington was on the court, the Sixers had a defensive rating of 99.0 compared to 107.4 when he was off. He also was first in defensive win shares compared to those who played at least 70 percent of their squad’s games. 

Covington finished with 90 points between 27 first-team and 36 second-team votes. He joined leading vote-getter Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Pacers guard Oladipo and Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday on the first team. 

Embiid led the Sixers with 12.6 rebounds and 1.75 blocks per game this season. When he was the closest defender, opponents shot a league-high 7.8 percentage points worse than expected on field goal attempts. Embiid ranked first in that category, ahead of Davis and Al Horford, off a minimum 200 defended shots. 

Embiid, a Defensive Player of the Year finalist, topped the second team with a total of 90 points (four first-team votes, 82 second team). Warriors forward Draymond Green, Celtics forward/center Horford, Spurs guard Dejounte Murray and Timberwolves guard/forward Jimmy Butler also were named to the team. 

Ben Simmons received five first-team votes. 

A panel of media members voted for two guards, two forwards and one center (based on the players’ most frequent position) for each team. The players who got votes at more than one position (Davis, Horford, Butler) were designated to the position at which they received the highest amount of votes. First-team votes carried two points, second-team votes one. 

Robert Covington has surgery on his middle finger of left hand

Robert Covington has surgery on his middle finger of left hand

Robert Covington underwent surgery Thursday for a finger injury first suffered in late December.

The procedure was done to repair the extensor tendon in Covington's left middle finger, which he injured on Dec. 28 against the Trail Blazers in Portland. He left the game early (see story) but did not miss time after that.

Covington, who has been cleared to use his hand, will wear a splint during the recovery process. His finger will be evaluated in approximately two-to-three weeks to determine when he can resume basketball activities. 

Covington averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in his fourth season with the Sixers. For more on Covington's year, click here

Sixers know actions will speak louder than words in crucial offseason

Sixers know actions will speak louder than words in crucial offseason

It’s something you hear practically every NBA player say after the season.

“I’m going to work on my game this summer and get better.”

Sounds simple enough, but the process of professionals recognizing their flaws is much deeper than it seems.

“We all go through experiences in our lives that words don’t have the impact that they should have. You wish they did,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said last week during his end-of-season press conference. “Actions, most times, speak louder than words. 

“And as I said after we lost the series, I told the guys — and it was memories that we had from my old life — you’re going to learn more about yourselves in the next few weeks or while we’re playing in the playoffs maybe than you’ve ever learned in your career about your game and the psyche, the human side of it all.”

What the Sixers learned as a whole is that as presently constructed, the team doesn’t have enough to climb that championship mountain. 

So how do they get there? Without the benefit of projecting the roster for next season, it starts with every player returning after recognizing their biggest flaw and attacking it this offseason. That mindset has to start with the stars.

“What inevitably sort of rules most successful people that I’ve been around is there’s an immense competitor in all of them,” Brown said. “Like there is a prideful competitor in the great players that I have coached.”

If the Sixers’ young studs, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, hope to reach that level of greatness, it’s a must that they identify how to fix their weaknesses. For Simmons, the one major blemish in his game jumps out at you.

“It’s difficult for Ben to play in the environment the Celtics guarded him and find ways to impact the game as much as he can without the thing that we’re talking about,” Brown said. “And so whether it’s a jump shot, whether it’s a free throw, the inspiration to work is real in his head given the situation that we just left. So to carry over with his sort of personal desire to improve along with the memory of what just happened, how teams were guarding him, it’s an easy sell for the summer. And I think Ben’s going to knock it out of the park.”

The primary summer work for Embiid would appear to be less complex but just as equally vital to the center taking his game up another level.

“His whole future is his body, and that’s not going to surprise anybody,” Brown said. “How does he master his diet? How does he master his strength and conditioning? How does he master rehab, prehab, all the things that you know equal health?"

Not that the All-Star’s actual skill set can’t use some refinement.

“I think that with Joel, now that we have a starting point, his health is going to let him take his post game, I think, to a different level,” Brown added. “When you zoom in on development in the summer, his ability to navigate post play, turn and face, back down, pass out, that world he’s got to own. He really has to own that and I believe that he will.”

The Sixers know if their two leaders take the offseason work suggested by the franchise seriously, it will only trickle down to the rest of the roster. 

“They’re fantastic because we talk freely about you have to let me coach you. You have to let me coach you because if we can coach our two best players, we got this thing,” Brown said. “Dario (Saric) can take a hit, Cov (Robert Covington) can take a hit, T.J. (McConnell) can take a hit. They are all coachable.”