Runner-up DPOY candidate Rudy Gobert has missed a 1/3 of the season. Numbers don't lie and neither do the eyes. Robert Covington is The 2018 Defensive Player of The Year. With the Sixers ranking 4th in the league in defensive rating, much credit can be given to the always disruptive Robert Covington.
Over the course of 76 games this season, Covington has given more compared to opposing candidate Rudy Gobert who has only played 53. Those extra 26 games are key part of any team's success, namely the Sixers who rank 5th in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. The sheer volume of 26 games of hustle, hard work, and sound defense puts Robert Covington above the close runner-up Rudy Gobert for Defensive Player of The Year.
Leading the league in deflections per 36 minutes according to NBA official statistics, Covington has truly made his mark. Defensive titans such as Paul George and Chris Paul have not matched Covington’s activity level on the defensive end. Deflections make each and every offensive endevour that much more difficult for the opposing offensive player. Wreaking havoc on defense creates indecision on offense. Covington has proven he is elite in this category of defensive prowess.
While it is true that Rudy Gobert’s team is this much better with him on the court and his DRPM rating leads the league, Covington’s work is more impressive. Consider the statistic RPM and its biases. Nine of the top 15 leaders in defensive rpm according to the official statistics, play the Center position. Three are power forwards. Two are guards. One small forward stands alone in the top five. That one is Robert Covington with a 4.00 defensive RPM.
Covington averages .8 blocks, many of which send a message such as his emphatic block against Jason Terry or his screen switching rim rejection of Darren Collison against Indiana this year.
The NBA Defensive Player of Year award winners has never failed to make key defensive plays in crucial situations. Iconic defensive performances in key situations are the bread and butter of DPOY recipients. One could talk about 3 time award winner Kawhi Leonard’s block against James Harden with twelve seconds remaining down by one point to seal the game. One could reminisce 2017 Defensive Player of The Year award winner Draymond Green’s game saving steal against New Orleans with 2.3 seconds on the clock. Legends of the game will always recall the great Michael Jordan’s lock down defense on Gary Payton in game five of the 1996 NBA finals. True Defensive Player of The Year candidates step up when it matters the most. Robert Covington has stepped up this year with several key defensive stops.
He has stepped up defensively against 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis.
He has stepped up against Lebron James late in games.
He has stepped up with minutes to go several times forcing missed shots.
The man deserves his respect and should be named 2017-18 Player of The Year.