There is one player in the top 15 of ESPN basic fantasy basketball who is NOT owned in a majority of leagues (that is, over 50%). This player isn’t even owned in a third of leagues. This player is 27 years old, he’s 6’9”, he plays for a good team, he’s a starter on that good team, and he’s one of only 25 players in the NBA to average at least 34 minutes per game. As we know in fantasy, minutes are water: they make everything else grow, counting stats especially. Basically, this player averages as many minutes per game as Kawhi Leonard and Steph Curry.
This player, who was also a top 50 player last season, and ended the year with an 80+% ownership level, is one of only SEVEN players in the entire NBA last season to average 12+ points per game, 5+ rebounds, 2+ three-pointers made, and 1.5+ steals per game. The other six players were all elite-elites: Paul George, Boogie Cousins, James! Harden!, Victor Oladipo (who sure did look like an MVP candidate in that Boston Celtics game), Steph Curry, and Chris Goddamn Paul. Only four of those seven guys played in 60 games or more, and our guy was one of them: he played in the most of the group, actually, 80 games in total. He’s also the only one who turned it over less than twice a game.
This season, our unheralded Top 25 player (who is, again, Top 15 in ESPN basic right now, and was Top 50 last year), isn’t just top 25 in minutes per game, he’s also:
- One of only 14 players to average 11+ PPG, 5+ RPG, and 1.5+ SPG (along witth Harden, LeBron, Kawhi, Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George, ‘Dipo, Mr. Tough Guy Jimmy Butler, CP3, Dwight Howard (eye-roll, two game sample size), Marc Gasol, Ben Simmons, Steven Adams)
- One of only FOUR players to average the above stats AND average at least one block per game (AD, Butler, and Adams are the other three)
- Is the ONLY PLAYER IN THE NBA to have the above averages, AND at least two 3PM per game
- One of only 16 players (it would be 17 but I don’t know who Jared Terrell is) who averages at least one block per game and at least one steal per game. (Terrell is an undrafted 23-year-old from Rhode Island on the TimberBulls who’s played in one game so far this season. Best of luck to him, and I hope we see more of you.)
- Currently 29.6% owned in ESPN (129th overall), in between the ownership levels of Jeremy Lin (32.1% ownership) and Tyreke Evans (28.5% ownership), neither of whom start, by the way, and neither of whom average more than 20 MPG
- Still currently owned less than former fantasy boyfriend Zach Randolph. STILL. LESS. OWNED. THAN. ZBO. ZBo has not played an NBA game so far this season. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THIS ZBO OWNERSHIP, MAN?! DO YALL KNOW SOMETHING I DON’T??
- One of only 24 players in the Top 100 who have less than 50% ownership.
This mystery player is none other than Robert Covington (something you probably figured by the title of this piece). Covington’s ownership is a slap in the face to God, Fantasy, and Basketball Itself, as well as to the entire extended Covington family. Like, what else do you need, people? For him to score 20+ PPG, also? He’s already giving you ELITE-ELITE production, and you just scoff, and shrug your shoulders, and pick up ZACH EFFING RANDOLPH instead? Are you trying to piss me off? It seems like you’re trying to piss me off.
Almost no one else in fantasy gives you the mix of stats that Mr. Covington provides. Let me underline that fact. Only 7 players in the entire NBA provide both 2+ 3PM and 1+ block per game. (Danny Green is one of them, by the way.) Elite offense, elite defense. Only one other player also averages 5 or more boards per game (we’re not counting Will Barton because he’s only played in 2 games before getting injured): the goddamn Big KAT, Karl-Anthony Towns, a probable Top 10 fantasy player.
The Big KAT takes 14 shots per game, while Covington only takes 9 (last year he took 10+). Are you really trying to tell me that you’re refusing to pick up Covington because of a handful of attempts per game? 15 players this season are performing at, or better than, this line: 9+ field goal attempts per game, 40 FG%; and, 5+ three point attempts, 40 3PT%. Bob Covington is one of them. He’s the only one of the group who gives you 3+ steals plus blocks per game.
Robert Covington is elite-elite. I wonder when the fantasy community will come to understand that?