In the Utah record books, Joe Ingles stands alone. Earlier this season, he set the single-season record for three pointers made in a Jazz uniform. But he’s much, much more than just a deadeye 3-point shooter. For starters, he is, among other things, an above the rim player. For your viewing pleasure, all of his thunderous dunks from the regular season:
Jokes aside, Ingles is one of the most unique players in the NBA. In the 2017-18 season, only 20 NBA players recorded 11+ points, 4+ assists, 4+ rebounds, and 1+ steal per game. Ingles’ 3pt%, eFG%, and TS% rank #1 on this list. In fact, he was the only player on this list to shoot at least 40% from 3 (Nikola Jokic and Kyle Lowry were both just a shade under 40%).
His presence on the court puts immense pressure on opposing defenses. Among qualified NBA players, he ranks 10th in 3-pointers made, 17th in 3-pointers attempted, 4th (tied with Klay Thompson) in 3-point percentage, and 15th in true shooting percentage, per basketball-reference. It’s no coincidence that his plus/minus for the season (+267) ranks 3rd on the roster behind only Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Ingles grades out well in advanced metrics, too. He’s 4th among small forwards in real plus/minus, 7th in offensive box plus/minus, and 5th in wins, according to espn.com.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of his already criminally underrated game is his leadership. He has a feel for the game that just can’t be taught. On February 12th, Utah was in a tough battle vs the San Antonio Spurs. With just over 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Utah found themselves down 5 and had struggled to score, having gone more than 4 minutes without a field goal. Ingles drove to the rim, where he was met and fouled by Pau Gasol.
Ingles’ jawing at Gasol got the crowd back into the game and re-energized the team. Utah came back and went on to win a nail-biter, 101-99. Ingles finished the game with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists - one of his best performances of the season.
His ability to get under the skin and into the heads of his opponents is legendary. Many times this season, he has been the key to frustrating opposing stars and absolutely demolishing the opposing team’s morale. Look at how he taunts Paul George after draining a 3 in his face in a critical game 4 vs the Oklahoma City Thunder:
Even though he got a tech in the above clip, he helped swing the momentum in Utah’s favor, and even forced a turnover on the ensuing defensive possession. Ingles is so sly and clever in the way he baits his opponents, frustrating them, wearing them down.
Defensively, he confuses and frustrates opponents with great defensive positioning and amazing basketball IQ. He knows where he needs to be, and makes up for his lack of elite athleticism with smart, physical play on that end, anticipating passes and drives to the hoop. Behold!
After a rough game 1 against OKC, Ingles has stepped up his game and has really helped Utah take control of the series. Ingles is making a habit of performing well in the postseason. Last year, he essentially took JJ Redick out of the series.
Ingles helped kill “Lob City” last season. Hopefully he helps break up the OKC squad (please come to Utah, Paul George!) and restores balance to the NBA.
Many casual fans are still unaware of Joe Ingles, and are surprised by his effective game (just read one of Moni’s many opponent game thread highlights; pure gold). He’s drawn comparisons to a math teacher, an accountant, and even Toby from The Office:
We all agree that Joe Ingles is Toby, right? pic.twitter.com/SWBwyylvLk— Amanda (@hazels101) April 24, 2018
Pretty hilarious. Sooner or later, expect even the most casual of NBA fans to realize just how sneaky-good Joe Ingles is.
Joe is always in control. Always calm. Always collected. The way he interacts with officials is under control, even when he’s arguing a call. He’ll often chat with refs during a stoppage in play, joking with them and putting a smile on their face. That may seem like a small thing, but it pays off. Even if it’s subconsciously, refs are more likely to give Ingles the benefit of the doubt on 50/50 calls because of his rapport with them.
Joe Ingles. Slo-mo Joe. Jingles. Sloppy Joe. It doesn’t really matter what you call him, as long as you remember that Joe Ingles is a winner, a leader, and a great teammate. We’re lucky to have a player like him, and when the Utah Jazz finally hoist the NBA championship trophy, Joe Ingles will have been a big part of that.
Jazz man for life.