Philadelphia 76ers: Robert Covington stands up for his friend

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers need another forward.

… okay, technically, the Sixers need more shooting, more defense, and more size and have basically no way to address these needs now that the trade deadline has passed and the buyout market has dried up. But a solid, 3-and-D forward who can play some three, play even more four, and maybe a little five would make the team oh so much better than they are now.

I mean, need I say more than the team’s embarrassing loss to the Brooklyn Nets? They had no answer at all for Kevin Durant once the decision was made to put Matisse Thybulle on Kyrie Irving and watched helplessly as he led the Nets in points, shot attempts, shot makes, rebounds, assists, and steals on a very efficient 32 minutes of action (more on that here).

Fortunately, there was a forward who fits the team’s wishlist who was watching the Philadelphia 76ers’ loss; a soon-to-be free agent with deep roots in the City of Brotherly Love. The bad news? He wasn’t a fan of how the Philly crowd treated Ben Simmons in his first game back at the Wells Fargo Center post-trade, as his social media postings clearly showed.

Has Robert Covington soured on Philadelphia 76ers fans?

When Robert Covington was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, he was treated like a star.

One of the few players to actually break out of the team’s process-era of talent acquisition and remain in the starting five once the wins started to matter, folks lauded RoCo’s top of the key defensive abilities, his pre-Matisse Thybulle pickpocketing, and his hair-pin trigger from beyond the arc, even if his shots didn’t always fall at an elite clip.

Did Cov have his flaws? Sure, he never saw a 3 he didn’t like and was always just a step too slow to cover firecracker guards like Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, or even Terry Rozier – basically any player who wore or would end up wearing Celtics green and white. But you wouldn’t hear too much slander from the fans who watched Covington go from playing on a 10 win team to a squad that made it to the second round of the playoffs. No, to folks in Philly, Covington was one of us, and a player many were sad to see leave even in a deal for Jimmy freakin’ Butler.

So why, did Covington respond “Philly at its finest. Now you see why he wanted out” on a Bleacher Report post commenting on Kyrie Irving clapping back at a heckling fan at the Sixers-Nets game?

Maybe it’s because Covington and Ben Simmons are friends. I mean, they were teammates for a little over two seasons – including Simmons’ redshirt year – and he was the beneficiary of more than a few dimes from the newly monitored “Ben 10.” It’s also possible that RoCo saw how fans in Philly treated opposing players like, say, those dastardly Celtics, and it never quite sat well with him. I mean goodness, almost every team Covington has played for since leaving the Sixers have either been in a small market or were the secondary team in a market – with the lone exception being the Houston Rockets – so maybe the way Philly fans roll just isn’t in line with how fans in Minnesota, Portland, or Los Angeles roll.

Then again, many assumed that Covington had a pretty good relationship with Joel Embiid, James Harden, Elton Brand, and Daryl Morey and would be a favorite to return to the team this summer on the mid-level exception. Even if a relatively meaningless Instagram comment surely won’t decide a big time signing one way or another, it does raise more than a few eyebrows nonetheless.

Considering the Sixers would trade unspeakable assets for a 6-foot-9 forward who can guard – and play – all three frontcourt positions and shoot a few 3s when he’s open, it would probably be in RoCo’s best interest to live tweet Sixers games with appropriate hashtags to really hammer home his case for a reunion.

Next. Who can defend Kevin Durant in the playoffs?. dark

The Philadelphia 76ers’ Thursday night contest against the Brooklyn Nets was considered one of the “must-watch- games remaining in the 2021-22 NBA season. It featured about a half dozen interesting storylines, some juicy drama, and what many thought would be some incredibly entertaining basketball. Did the game ultimately deliver? No, it was a certified dud for fans in Philly, but hey, if it showed anything, it’s that the Sixers desperately need a player like Robert Covington moving forward. Let’s just hope he can get over fans’ reaction to Ben Simmons in time for free agency.