Our 2022-2023 player season preview series wraps with the versatile forward, veteran Robert Covington.


Height: 6’7”

Weight: 209

Position: Forward

Age: 31

Years in NBA: 9

Key Stats: 71 games, 8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.3 blocks on 42.0/37.8/84.1 shooting splits

Contract Status: Robert Covington signed a two-year, $ 24 million contract with the Clippers this past offseason.


While it would be nice to have the Philadelphia 76ers version of RoCo or even the version we saw in 23 games as a Clipper last season, the Clippers don’t need him to be that guy — nor will he be that version. But my expectation is that RoCo will be the versatile wing that’ll fill gaps for the Clippers throughout the season. Of the bigger wings and forwards, his body has certainly held up the best over recent years. RoCo’s availability and style of play will allow Ty Lue to properly manage the workload of everyone during the 82-game sprint, while guys like RoCo and Terance Mann put a little more tread on their wheels.


RoCo is fantastic as an off-ball defender. He roams like a free safety and has an innate ability to jump passing lanes upon sniffing out reads — it’s how he ended up as the only player in the NBA last season to reach 90-plus steals and 90-plus blocks. And even though he doesn’t quite have the agility he once possessed to be a reliable on-ball defender, he makes up for getting beat off the dribble by having some of the best and most active hands in the league.

Another one of Covington’s calling cards is his ability to space the floor. His accuracy throughout his career from beyond the arc has ranged from average to really good, with no real consistency either way. Yet, his capacity to fire them away without hesitation usually makes for a good offensive process and his volume alone helps keep the defense honest. 


I struggled to find something here since RoCo plays his specific role and plays it quite well — much like Zu, who doesn’t step outside of his box. So I guess I’ll point to a weakness in Covington’s skillset as opposed to those that might be noticeable on a nightly basis. Although he isn’t asked to do so, he’s not a shot creator — not for himself or for others. Only one time in his career has RoCo averaged 2.0 or more assists per game in a season, and you certainly won’t see him doing much creation for himself off the bounce.

And for the sake of the category, Covington isn’t an elite on-ball defender. He was sort of miscast as one for much of his career, but (here comes another football reference) he’s more of a safety than a cornerback. I wouldn’t say he’s bad at it, but there are certainly times in which the ball-handler breaks him down.


It seemed as though the general consensus before the trade that landed him in L.A. was that Robert Covington was somewhat cooked. In Portland, he was averaging the fewest points per game (7.6) since his rookie season and had seen his shooting efficiency completely exit. But he came to L.A. and immediately found life. His shooting skyrocketed and his defense, on a nightly basis, was arguably the best of any Clipper who consistently suited up in the 2021-22 season — two things that turned him into one of the more-respected two-way wings in the league for s couple of his prime years in the NBA.

Maybe he’s that, or maybe he’s a slightly lesser version. But at the end of the day, Robert Covington will be an impactful player almost every time he’s on the court for the Clippers in the 2023. I just hope the logjam at the forward spots doesn’t lead to him frequently being underutilized.

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