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3 early impressions of Rockets forward Robert Covington

Houston Rockets Robert Covington (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Robert Covington (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets Robert Covington (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

1. RoCo must improve his shot selection

For as much of an impact Covington has had on the Rockets, it’s unfair for us to point out any flaws in his game. But we would be doing Covington a disservice if we didn’t point out how he’s performed from behind the 3-point line. Obviously the Houston Rockets’ offensive system places a high importance on the 3-point shot, and the small ball approach places an even more importance on the triple.

The Rockets have been able to thrive while getting out-rebounded because of their ability to score more points on fewer shots. This has displayed the Rockets’ efficiency because 48.6 percent of their field goals are 3-pointers, meaning they are again getting more points while taking less shots.

This means Covington (and any other player) will have to make their 3-pointers and that hasn’t quite been the case for RoCo thus far. Covington is a career 35.8 percent shooter from long-range and even performed better than that in recent memory. Through his first 13 games of the 2018-19 season, Covington shot 39 percent as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler.

Obviously RoCo can shoot the triple, but he’s only made 32.8 percent of his 3-pointers during his time with the Rockets, which is a career-low for RoCo. We know a hard-working player like Covington will improve in this area and the Rockets will surely need him to.

Part of the challenge of joining a team midseason is it forces a player to fit it while the rest of the team is already on one accord. We’ll need to give RoCo more time to get acclimated to playing alongside Russell Westbrook and playing in Mike D’Antoni‘s system, so it’s far too soon to panic.

But one method Covington could use to help improve his shooting percentage is to simply take better shots. It’s clear RoCo is forcing shots, as he’s firing away as soon as he touches the rock. As he becomes more comfortable with the Rockets style of play, he’ll understand the importance of making the extra pass and ultimately passing up what may seem like a good shot for a better shot for one of his teammates or even for himself.

A good example of this is how Covington is shooting 31.8 percent from deep on catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts, which are ultimately responsible for 73.6 percent of his 3-point attempts. This illustrates how he’s been firing away as soon as he’s on the receiving end of a pass. It would prove to be beneficial if he makes the extra pass for an open 3-point shot, of which he’s making 38.2 percent of his treys. In addition, Covington is taking far too many contested shots, which again illustrates how he’s firing away as soon as he touches the ball.

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Robert Covington is attempting 12.6 percent of his 3-pointers when he’s being tightly defended and is only making 18.2 percent of those shots. This is yet another example of how RoCo simply needs to make the extra pass and allow the ball to come back to him for a better shot. The reality is Covington is far more likely to make three-pointers if he’s open, so there’s no need to force the shot. James Harden and Russell Westbrook will each be able to create offense for Covington, so he doesn’t need to force shots as soon as he gets the ball.

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