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STATS THREAD!: A statistical deep dive into Joe Ingles’ performance

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Joe Ingles is no longer the NBA’s best-kept secret, but the numbers show he’s probably still underrated.

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Time for another #STATSTHREAD at SLC Dunk! This week’s subject? The venerable Joe Ingles.

If you’re new to this feature, each week we’ll take a statistical look at a player (or players) who will be on the 2018-19 Utah Jazz. The order was determined simply by looking at 2017-18 Win Shares.

Previous editions:

Rudy Gobert

Derrick Favors

So, as we wait for the inevitable commissioning of Ingles’ statue next to Karl Malone and John Stockton, let’s take a look at some fun numbers on Ingles.


  • A small sampling of players with fewer Wins Over Replacement Player than Joe Ingles over the last two seasons: Bradley Beal, John Wall, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Love and Klay Thompson.

We don’t often put Ingles in the company of players like this, but his value on both ends of the floor is immense.

  • Robert Covington, Otto Porter, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the only small forwards who topped Joe Ingles in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus in 2017-18. He was 25th in the NBA among all players in RPM.

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey called Ingles a top-10 small forward, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. And there’s plenty of evidence to back it up. Lots of fans still balk (and that’s probably putting it nicely) at that idea, but there’s so much more to basketball than scoring 20 points per game.

  • Joe Ingles was 21st in the NBA in Real Plus-Minus Wins this season, first among Utah Jazz players and ahead of other wings like Kevin Durant, Khris Middleton, DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal and Klay Thompson.

Again, Ingles finds himself higher up these lists than people expect because he does more than score, as you’ll see below.

  • Among players with at least 500 career three-point attempts, Joe Ingles is fourth in NBA history in Effective Field Goal Percentage. He’s third among the 396 players with at least 1,000 three-point attempts.

This is team-altering shooting. Like Kyle Korver was for the Atlanta Hawks during their run of a few seasons ago, Ingles forces defenses to pay attention to the three-point line in a way they don’t have to when he’s on the bench. That means extra space is available in the paint, which is critical for a slasher like Donovan Mitchell and a rim-runner like Rudy Gobert.

  • Stephen Curry’s career Effective Field Goal Percentage: 57.9
    Joe Ingles’ career Effective Field Goal Percentage: 57.9

Ingles is an incredible shooter. Not just among the current crop of players, either. If he stays at this level for a few more years, we may have to start talking about him as an all-time great shooter. He’ll never approach the volume of a guy like Stephen Curry, but this level of efficiency is insane for any outside shooter.

  • Among those with at least 5,000 minutes, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Magic Johnson are the only players in NBA history who match or exceed Joe Ingles’ career marks for True Shooting Percentage, Assist Percentage and Steal Percentage.

And he’s not just a shooter. Look how exclusive that list is. An elite few combine Ingles’ shooting efficiency, playmaking and pilfering ability. Again, he does it all in a smaller role than the others on these lists, but that shouldn’t discount his versatility.

  • Most NBA Wins Over Replacement Player for someone born in Australia:
    1. Andrew Bogut
    2. Kyrie Irving
    3. Joe Ingles

We’ll have to defer to our Aussie friends on whether they count Kyrie Irving as one of their own, but Ingles has a chance to be Australia’s greatest basketball player ever.

  • Players who took at least 200 catch-and-shoot threes, sorted by catch-and-shoot Effective Field Goal Percentage:
    1. Buddy Hield (71)
    2. Joe Ingles (68.7)
    3. Kevin Durant (67.3)
    4. Kyle Korver (66.5)
    5. Anthony Tolliver (65.8)

A catch-and-shoot attempt from Ingles was worth 1.37 points this season. That’s more efficient than a trip to the free throw line by Andrew Wiggins (1.28 points per trip).

  • Joe Ingles ran 184.8 miles during games in the regular season. Only 22 players covered more distance.

Maybe I’m the only one who finds this interesting.

But seriously, this is a decent reflection of how much Joe Ingles has to do. He runs off screens when he’s off ball, he runs pick-and-roll and he often has to chase one of the opposition’s top wings.

  • Since 1973, 65 players have been rookies in their age-27 season (when Joe Ingles was a rookie). Only 11 of those players made it to a fourth season. Ingles leads that bunch in Wins Over Replacement Player through four seasons. His fourth year by itself was better than the four combined years of seven of the 11.

This one seems hyper-specific and obscure. And that’s because it is. But the point is that Joe Ingles’ path is very unusual. Most players who break into the NBA as late as Ingles don’t last. The others who could qualify as success stories would be Luis Scola, Jamario Moon and Mario Elie. None of those players were in the upper echelon of their position by Year 4, as Ingles is. Twenty-seven-year olds simply aren’t supposed to have this development curve.

  • Joe Ingles had the 58th-best age-30 season of all time, according to Wins Over Replacement Player. A random sampling of players who had fewer WORP in an age-30 season: Patrick Ewing, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash (his first MVP season) and Isiah Thomas.

Numbers like this aren’t the end-all, be-all, of course. But Ingles’ combination of playmaking, perimeter defense and top-of-the-league shooting gave him one of the better seasons we’ve seen from a player his age.

Fine, you caught me. I’ve done plenty of Ingles threads in the past. So, I’m cheating and mining some of those older looks at Ingles. This is similar to one of the stats above, but it really underscores the combination of efficiency and versatility.

Another way of looking at that combination.

And finally, if we add height to the equation. Yep, it’s just Ingles and Magic Johnson.

  • Joe Ingles dunks by season
    2014-15: Five
    2015-16: Two
    2016-17: Four
    2017-18: Six

That dunk life.

Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of NBA.com, Basketball Reference or ESPN.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for SLC Dunk and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter (@AndrewDBailey) and listen to his Hardwood Knocks podcast, co-hosted by B/R’s Dan Favale.