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Blazers’ Covington Belongs on the NBA’s All-Defensive Ballot

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ESPN analyst Kevin Pelton highlighted Robert Covington’s contributions when outlining his All-Defensive teams.

Portland Trail Blazers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers have not excelled on defense in the 2020-21 season, but forward Robert Covington has found a way to shine despite Portland’s team-wide struggles. Through 65 games, Covington has averaged 1.2 blocks, 1.4 steals and 6.7 rebounds per game.

With those contributions in mind, ESPN analyst Kevin Pelton listed Covington as an honorable mention in his All-Defensive team predictions. Listed at Power forward, Covington was mentioned just behind Draymond Green and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Pelton explained that Covington is hitting his stride in the final stretch of the season alongside center Jusuf Nurkic.

Although Portland hasn’t taken an anticipated defensive jump after adding Covington, that’s largely because of other issues in the frontcourt. Lineups with Covington and Jusuf Nurkic rank in the 79th percentile defensively per Cleaning the Glass.

Covington has five more regular season games to cement his place on the ballot. You can read Pelton’s full breakdown of the All-Defensive field at ESPN+ (subscription required).