The Timberwolves are sitting at 14th in the Western Conference with an ugly 15-31 record, making them prime selling candidates ahead of the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline. While Covington is having a subpar year from 3-point range, he has been traditionally viewed as a quality “3-and-D” wing player who can provide high quality defense and hit open 3s. Covington is a career 35.8% shooter from 3, which is about league average. By defensive real plus-minus, Covington has graded as a better than average defensive player this season but was among the most elite defensive players at his position prior to this season. Here are some teams who could benefit from adding Covington.
Covington spent most of his career in Philadelphia before being traded to the Timberwolves last season as part of the Jimmy Butler trade, and the 76ers have been linked to re-acquiring Covington as they look to upgrade their team heading into the playoffs. Covington fit well with the 76ers during his time there and would provide an upgrade defensively for a team that is already excellent at preventing points. The 76ers rank third best by points allowed per possession. Covington’s 3-point shooting was a tick better than average with the 76ers, which is important for playing alongside Ben Simmons, who is at his best with the floor spaced.
The Mavericks recently lost Dwight Powell (Achilles) for the season and have been reportedly attempting to acquire Covington to help their frontcourt depth, as Kristaps Porzingis will now likely be forced into playing more minutes at center. The Mavericks have posted elite offensive numbers, and their points scored per possession currently ranks as the best single-season mark in the NBA’s database, which dates back to the 1996-97 season. Adding Covington to improve their defense, which has been slightly below average by points allowed per possession, would help them as they transition to the playoffs.
The Lakers have also been linked to Covington, and he is an ideal fit alongside Lakers PG/SF LeBron James for reasons similar to Ben Simmons. James is best when surrounded by players who can hit open 3s, as it creates driving lanes to the basket and makes it more difficult to double-team. Covington would be an excellent rotation player who can boost Los Angeles’ defense, especially in minutes when wing Danny Green is resting.