Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington landed inside another Top 100 list in lead up to the 2020-21 regular season. Inside Sports Illustrated’s player rankings, the former Rockets forward landed at No. 66.
Along with his placement, SI’s Michael Shapiro explained that Covington’s versatile defense could help the Blazers reach a new level.
Covington is largely an ideal three-and-D forward, especially on the defensive end. The Tennessee State product can legitimately defend both guards and larger wings, excelling as a weak-side helper. Only two players tallied more steals in 2019–20. Just nine finished with more blocks. Covington should continue to be a valuable defensive asset in Portland, where he’ll excel as a versatile frontcourt piece alongside Jusuf Nurkić and Derrick Jones Jr. Covington should help the Blazers secure a playoff spot in an increasingly crowded West. There are some offensive shortcomings to note with Covington. He’s more of a stationary shooter than anything on the offensive end, and his jumper ebbs and flows more than one would like. Covington struggled mightily from three in the NBA bubble, and while that may be a small sample, he’s never been a truly knockdown shooter. Perhaps playing alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will generate more wide-open looks in 2020–21.
Covington was flanked by Eric Bledsoe (No. 67) and Al Horford (No. 65) in the first installment of SI’s rankings.
The Blazers acquired Covington from the Rockets in exchange for a package that included Trevor Ariza and two first-round picks. Last season, Covington appeared in 22 regular season games with the Rockets. In those outings, he averaged 11.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
You can read the first installment of SI’s player rankings by clicking here.