The Sixers May Have Found a Keeper in Robert Covington
The Sixers offensive rating, which is an estimate of points scored per 100 possessions used, of 93.0 is bad. Not like kind of bad, but historically bad. There's only been one team with a lower offensive rating since the 2000-01 season: the 2002-03 Denver Nuggets, who rode an offensive rating of 92.2 to a 17 win season.
So saying that the Sixers struggle to score is sort of a no-brainer: they struggle to score all the time. But if they really struggle on the season, their offensive rating of 91.1 when Robert Covington is not in the game is darned near unfathomable.
In fact, finding a team with an offensive rating of 91.1 is impossible. They don't exist.
Yet that 91.1 offensive rating jumps up to a 97.4 offensive rating when Covington is on the court. It's still bad, still the worst in the league, but it's not historically bad: there are 39 seasons worse since the 1973-74 season, including some in the modern era! Heck, the Toronto Raptors won 33 games during the 2003-04 season with a 96.7 offensive rating.
Joking aside, that 6+ point jump is significant. The Sixers still clearly lack the talent to become a legitimate offensive club, but the more time that goes on and the more minutes Covington plays, the improvement becomes less and less likely to be a fluke.
How crucial he has become can be reflected on the number of minutes he has played: despite just joining the team midway through November, Robert Covington has played the 2nd most minutes per game on the team over the last 15 games at 32.9 per night, behind only Michael Carter-Williams.
Looking at the production the Sixers have gotten from Robert Covington, it seems almost unimaginable. In only 27.2 minutes per night, Covington is scoring 12.4 points per game, while connecting on 2.2 three pointers per and shooting 39.8% while doing so.
Those numbers were even better before Covington hit a recent rough stretch, which coincided with the news received after the Atlanta Hawks game that he had a right shoulder contusion, an injury which caused him to miss a game last week against the Raptors. Covington, who had just gone 7-14 from deep in the two games immediately preceding the game against the Hawks, was shooting 42.2% on the season from three point range up until that point. He has gone just 5-26 since.
Even with that rough patch, the numbers are amazing.
The numbers are even more amazing when considering...