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Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles is a guy all winning teams need - The Downbeat #1536

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Restarting the rebuild clock...Joe Ingles history...situational stars...All-Star Weekend representation...and someone shoulda got fired for this design

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz lost again to the Los Angeles Clippers, making it an unlucky 13 times in a row. That's a crazy streak, but not quite as crazy as what's going down in Hotlanta, the Atlanta Hawks have now won 17 games in a row. Our guys can't even win three, where the third is against the Boston Celtics. Brutal.

Even an opotmist like myself can get down, but we all need to collectively:

It's going to be a long climb back up the NBA ranks, but this is a re-build reset, what else do you call it when only 1 of the four guys you were rebuilding around is close to being the player he should be, and you just drafted an 18 year old who will be a future starter. The record, the new system, the new coach, and the new age groups (we have a lot of talent UNDER 22) mean that we have to push the timeline back as well.

We're going to be fine, just a little later than we expected.

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Let's take some time to recognize Joe Ingles, our starting shooting guard. How did Joe get here? Ingles went through the Australian Institute of Sport, like so many other promising athletes from down under; and after graduation went on to be the face of the franchise of the new NBL (the major pro league in Australia) expansion team: the South Dragons. Their head coach was Mark Price, and Joe would pick up Rookie of the Year honours for his efforts.

After three seasons with the Dragons, the Aussie point forward moved onto the Spanish 2nd tier pro league (LEB Oro) and played one year with CB Granada. (Their wiki states their best players ever as being Curtis Borchardt, Darvin Ham, and Scott Padgett -- among others.) A year later he graduated to FC Barcelona, in Spain's top league (ACB). In his three seasons there they had a lot of success, and Joe played with Ricky Rubio, Juan Carlos Navarro, Fran Vasquez, Marcelo Huertas, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and this previously unconfirmed mystery player named Ante Tomic. They won a lot of games, and some hardware too.

Joe then took a trip to the Holy Land, and signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv. This was, honestly, his first time being more than just a bit player and his 22.9 mpg definitely helped this team win it all. Sure, coaching had something to do with this, but you don't expect a team led by Rick Hickman, Devin Smith, and David Bluthenthal (I have made a huge mistake) win the Euroleague championship. But they did.

Over the years he did flirt with the NBA. He put his name in the NBA Draft hat back in 2008, but withdrew it. In 2009 and 2010 he had played in the Vegas Summer League for the Golden State Warriors -- so he has that connection to Ian Clark there. But nothing really come of it until he played in the preseason this year with the Los Angeles Clippers.

He didn't make it through camp with them, but the Jazz quickly picked him up. And because of injuries to both Alec Burks and Rodney Hood this former bit player and champ who has been all around the world is starting for our Utah Jazz.

And doing things like this against the team that could have had him.

Ingles is, clearly, a player you need on a winning team. He has the ability to make something out of nothing. And while he does not excel anywhere, he does many things out there. He can defend, he can play the passing lanes, he can dribble, probe, find the open man, and occasionally take the open shot. He is starting by circumstance, as Quin Snyder doesn't have many options right now.

The advanced metrics are not kind to Ingles in his rookie NBA season, but the 27 year old has come on strong in the month of January. Playing an average of 27.2 mpg Joe is averaging a triple couple (6.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, and 4.2 apg), and dropped 10+ points in two of his last three games. (And three of his last eight . . . and four of his last 19, wait, the point here is that he's hot-ish NOW.)

In a season of Spurs -like moves, Ingles appears to be a Jerry Sloan throwback. A point forward version of the rebounding and hustle specialist Adam Keefe, who somehow managed to start and play 26 mpg on an NBA Finals club.

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About a week ago Tom Ziller, of SB Nation, wrote about Draymond Green and the rise of 'situational superstars'. Ziller writes:

"We've become accustomed to two types of max players: the context-free superstars and the effective 7-footers. You can't teach height, so you buy it. That's how Roy Hibbert gets a max deal. The context-free superstars would be brilliant on any team. These guys are usually scorers, or at least score enough in combination with big assist numbers, great size or standout defense to justify huge contracts. Think Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving, Paul George or Blake Griffin. Even most of the young players who get max contracts land them on the promise of their future offense prowess. Consider the Warriors' own Thompson, who signed an extension quite near the max based on his shooting exploits and solid defense.

"The thing about Green -- and, in some ways, Kawhi Leonard and even Jimmy Butler -- is his impact is totally contextual. Put him on a team without two explosive scorers or a team that doesn't have lots of defensive talent and you're still probably only getting 12 points and eight rebounds with really good individual defense and good ball movement. That's nice and all, but it's not $14 million a year nice. To justify the salary, the situational superstar needs to exist in the proper situation."

- Tom Ziller, SB Nation, 2015

The reason why a guy like Adam Keefe worked on a finals team was because of fit, and dare-I-say-it, because there were actual super stars on that squad. And I agree with TZ here, a guy like Green probably isn't a max player on some other squad, but it's a very good fit for what talents are already on the dubs, and what he can do to help them do what they want to do out there.

Trying to justify Adam Keefe as a 26 mpg starter in 1997-98 can only really be done through this context. The team played conservatively, and possessions meant more than versatility. Keefe hustled, got offensive rebounds (and thus, extra offensive possessions), knew how to finish on the break, and did not turn the ball over or take bad shots. He helped the team maximize their advantage (the slow surgical strikes of the late 90s Jazz) and wasn't a risky player to play. He did not overtly help you win games, but did it by -- effectively -- not disrupting a good thing.

Now, in the article they talk about being a super star or a max contact player. Keefe obviously was not. And I don't think Ingles will ever be on either. Do you think that there is the possibility of an actual 'situational superstar' on this club?

It could be argued that on a team that doesn't need to rely upon his defense, Enes Kanter 's offensive game is star-like. We have all seen what he can do with enough time (a 20-20 game), and when he is open and used as a finisher of plays he can put up points on the board in a variety of ways. Unlike Draymond Green, he's not a two way player. And he's also not excellent at 'getting his' while maintaining what his team is trying to do. But in Kanter's favor, he is a 22 (Ed. not ww)  year old 6'11 bigman with a good body and no prior injury history to be worried about. Green is a 24 year old tweener, a 6'7 PF who excels because of their non-traditional talent.

Do the Jazz have any situational super stars?

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The All-Star weekend is fast approaching, and this year there are (like most years in this modern, 24 hour news cycle, era) a ton of events beyond the actual All-Star game. On Friday there is the Celebrity game (who remembers Justin Bieber actually being way better than we all thought / hoped for?), and then the Rookie / Soph game. (The BBVA Compass Rising Stars USA vs the World game, not at all a long title.) Then on Saturday there's the Shooting Stars (NBA+NBA Legend + WNBA player) contest, the Skills Challenge, the 3-point Shoot out , and then the always anti-climatic Dunk Contest. Somewhere behind the scenes will be the NBA DL All-star game too.

Remember the good old days when we had a ton of Jazz representation? I mean more than just the "Here's Blue Edwards in the dunk contest," days. And I mean more than just "John Stockton and Karl Malone will always be All-Stars" days either. Carlos Boozer was an All-Star, Deron Williams was in the skills contest, Paul Millsap and Ronnie Brewer were in the rookie/soph game, and Morris Almond and Kyrylo Fesenko were at the NBA-DL All-Star game.

This year, well, there's some representation, but not much. With the fields for the Shooting Stars, Skills Challenge, and All-Star reserves yet to be announced the Jazz have three All-Star Weekend slots. Who has been announced so far?

Player Team Event Player Team Event
1 Dennis Schroder ATL Rising Stars 21 Andrew Wiggins MIN Rising Stars
2 Kyle Korver ATL 3PT Shootout 22 Gorgui Dieng MIN Rising Stars
3 Bojan Bogdanovic BKN Rising Stars 23 Shabazz Muhammad MIN Rising Stars
4 Mason Plumlee BKN Dunk Contest 24 Zach LaVine MIN Dunk Contest
5 Mason Plumlee BKN Rising Stars 25 Zach LaVine MIN Rising Stars
6 Kelly Olynyk BOS Rising Stars 26 Anthony Davis NOP All-Star Starter
7 Cody Zeller CHA Rising Stars 27 Carmelo Anthony NYK All-Star Starter
8 Nikola Mirotic CHI Rising Stars 28 Steven Adams OKC Rising Stars
9 Pau Gasol CHI All-Star Starter 29 Elfrid Payton ORL Rising Stars
10 LeBron James CLE All-Star Starter 30 Victor Oladipo ORL Dunk Contest
11 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope DET Rising Stars 31 Victor Oladipo ORL Rising Stars
12 Klay Thompson GSW 3PT Shootout 32 Michael Carter-Williams PHI Rising Stars
13 Stephen Curry GSW All-Star Starter 33 Nerlens Noel PHI Rising Stars
14 Stephen Curry GSW 3PT Shootout 34 Wesley Matthews POR 3PT Shootout
15 Blake Griffin LAC All-Star Starter 35 Kyle Lowry TOR All-Star Starter
16 J.J. Redick LAC 3PT Shootout 36 Dante Exum UTA Rising Stars
17 Kobe Bryant LAL All-Star Starter 37 Rudy Gobert UTA Rising Stars
18 Marc Gasol MEM All-Star Starter 38 Trey Burke UTA Rising Stars
19 Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL Dunk Contest 39 John Wall WAS All-Star Starter
20 Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL Rising Stars

N.B. The Wes and J.J. think is reported as a rumor, with one more shooter left to fill out that spot.

While there aren't a ton of actual Jazz players, there are former Jazz players to root for. Kyle Korver was asked to participate in this back when he was with the Jazz, but declined so he could do laundry and go back to Philly to settle his affairs. It will be fun, but bitter sweet, to see him in this contest. Doubly so against Wes, who was a team mate of his in Utah.

Location and market size make a goon like Mason Plumlee in the dunk contest . . . I'd rather see another athletic wing instead of him. Or if you are going for a bigman . . . why not Jeremy Evans? At least he has a 49" vertical...

Anyway, with a few All-Star Weekend slots left to be filled, do we see any Jazz players fill it up? Will Trey Burke be asked to defend his skills contest crown?

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Speaking of the All-Star Weekend, check out this tweet by Basketball John:

Excited to be selected for the Rookie/Sophomore game this year. #worldteam @adidashoops

Ein von Danté Exum (@daanteee) gepostetes Foto am

Yikes.