Nashville, Tenn. - Houston Rockets rookie Robert Covington, who has played on assignment with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was today named the 2014 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 17 head coaches.
The award recognizes the first-year professional who most significantly contributed to his team’s success during the course of the season.
Covington played in 42 of the Vipers 50 regular season games on assignment from the Rockets, 41 as a starter. He averaged a team-high 23.2 points, good for second-best in the NBA D-League, while shooting 44 percent from the field. He rounded out his stat line averaging a Vipers-best 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 steals, second-highest in the league.
During the regular season, Covington led the team in scoring 21 times and was the Vipers leading rebounder in 13 contests. He scored in double figures in 41 of his 42 games in Rio Grande Valley, recording two 40-plus point games and four additional 30-plus point outings.
A 2014 NBA D-League All-Star, Covington scored an NBA D-League All-Star record 33 points, 22 of which came in the game’s final six minutes, en route to earning MVP honors in the game. He connected on 12 of his 23 shots, including four-of-eight three-pointers at NBA All-Star festivities in New Orleans.
“Robert has had an excellent rookie season on assignment with the Vipers,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “He embraced the opportunity to develop all aspects of his game in the NBA D-League and proved that he is able to perform at a professional level. I congratulate him on such a successful start to his career and look forward to watching his progress with the Houston Rockets.”
Covington helped the Vipers secure the fifth seed in the 2014 NBA D-League Playoffs, averaging 18.3 points in Rio Grande Valley’s first-round match-up against the Iowa Energy, a series the Vipers won in three games. He will re-join the Vipers tonight in Texas for the team’s game second-round playoff game against the Santa Cruz Warriors. Rio Grande Valley currently trails the Warriors 1-0 in the best-of-three series.
Undrafted in 2013, Covington has appeared in seven games with the Rockets this season.
All-Time NBA D-League Rookie of the Year winners:
2012-13: Tony Mitchell, Fort Wayne Mad Ants
2011-12: Edwin Ubiles, Dakota Wizards
2010-11: DeShawn Sims, Maine Red Claws
2009-10: Alonzo Gee,* Austin Toros
2008-09: Othyus Jeffers,* Iowa Energy
2007-08: Blake Ahearn, Dakota Wizards
2006-07: Louis Amundson,* Colorado 14ers
2005-06: Will Bynum,* Roanoke Dazzle
2004-05: James Thomas, Roanoke Dazzle
2003-04: Desmond Penigar, Asheville Altitude
2002-03: Devin Brown, Fayetteville Patriots
2001-02: Fred House, Charleston Lowgators