Our exit interview series of the 2024 Clippers continues with former forward, Robert Covington.

Basic Information

Height: 6’7

Weight: 210 pounds

Position: Power Forward

Age: 33

Years in NBA: 11

Key Clippers Regular Season Stats: 3.0 points, 2.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 0 turnovers in 23 minutes per game across 3 games played (3 starts) on 33.3/25/50.0 (2.7 3PA and 0.7 FTA attempts) shooting splits (45.5 True Shooting)

Expectations

Coming into the season, it was expected – and hoped for – that RoCo would play a bigger role for the 2024 Clippers than he had for the 2023 Clippers and their disastrous misuse of him. With Marcus Morris on the outs, Nic Batum aging, and no major moves over the summer to add a true forward, RoCo was projected to be the primary backup or even the starter at power forward. In that role, the expectations were for him to bring his usual, unique blend of off-ball and help-defense, rebounding, and three-point shooting, along with the occasional questionable decision on offense and slow-footed on-ball defense.

Reality

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but Robert Covington was in fact named the starter at power forward to open up the season. He started only three games, however, before the James Harden occurred, and RoCo was sent back to Philadelphia, where his career blossomed all those years ago.

Covington was immediately part of Nick Nurse’s rotation, though he played mostly off the bench, and actually filled a similar role to his 2023 campaign on the Clippers, albeit with fewer DNP-CDs. His defense was still a huge part of the Sixers’ early season success, as he somehow averaged 1.3 steals per game in just 16.1 minutes for Philly. The offense, as always, was hit or miss, but the impact was there in all the advanced stats, as always.

Unfortunately, RoCo was diagnosed with a knee injury on December 30… and just never returned. Eventually, the injury was set as a bone bruise, which are extremely painful, and RoCo just could not return to the court. Every time he seemed close, inflammation would come up again, and he’d have to return to inactivity. Thus, RoCo played in just 26 games for the Sixers, missing the last 50 contests of the season as well as the playoffs.

Future with Clippers

RoCo is going to be 34 in December, and missing half the season with a nebulous knee injury is a bad sign. He was effective when he was on the court last season, so he could definitely still make an NBA roster, but that’s no guarantee now. I hope he does, because it would be a shame if last season was his last time on an NBA court.

As for a return to the Clippers… that seems unlikely with Ty Lue and this current front office and coaching staff still in place. It’s not impossible, as the Clippers could use a veteran, playable power forward – and missed the kind of things RoCo brought to the table. Still, his 2023 season would seem to loom large in a potential reunion. It’s too bad RoCo never really got to make a large impact on the Clippers, and his legacy with the team will be more about the flaws of the organization and coaching staff than anything else.

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