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Ingles Must Improve ‘Everything’ In New Bench Role

Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz in action during a opening night game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 23, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Jazz swingman Joe Ingles is comfortable with his new role coming off the bench – well, mostly comfortable.

Ingles embraced the role, but understands there is an adjustment period and that each game will get better.

“Obviously it’s different,” said Ingles. “It’s definitely different from starting but…I guess you just figure it out along the way. Obviously, we only played a few preseason games and then you kind of get right into it.”

Not starting isn’t all bad, it gives players a chance to observe the game before jumping in.

“Being able to sit down and read how teams are playing on both ends of the floor and seeing how the referees are calling the game,” said Ingles.

Ingles read the 76ers just right in Utah’s 106-104 victory. He was the first sub off the bench. Ingles first shot was a one-handed floater from about 10 feet away. His next 2 shots were 3-pointers which he canned cooly.

Ingles also made a shot at the end of the third quarter that sent Jazz fandom into a frenzy. He finished the game with 16-points and shot 6-11 from the field.

Ingles’ productivity against the Sixers was an anomaly for this season. Prior to the Jazz’s win, the 7-year veteran was averaging 6.4 points a game, which is down sharply from his last two seasons when he averaged 12.1 and 11.5 points per contest.

His field goal attempts are down to only 6.3 a game and his field goal percentage was sitting at 36.4 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from the 3-point line.

“I definitely think I’ve got a lot to improve on and get a lot better I think I can play a lot better,” said Ingles.

When he was asked for specific improvements, Ingles answered, “In general, everything.”

Ingles hasn’t always been a starter. He knows what it’s like coming off the bench. That didn’t stop him from seeking out some gurus of the pine to help him along his new path.

One of those experts is fellow Australian national teammate Patty Mills who thrived coming off the bench for the majority of his NBA career.

“(It’s) been few years here, obviously since I came off the bench…just figuring out different ways, what they do, what their routine is, if there’s anything I can steal, or use it can help me or help our team win games I’m going to do,” Ingles explained.

Coach Quin Snyder thought it was a good idea for Ingles to seek out help from trusted colleagues. Most importantly, Snyder wants him to embrace this role because it will help the team and himself.

“There are times when (Ingles is) in the game where he’s stabilizing (the team). Where he gets an opportunity, I think to make plays that he wouldn’t necessarily get if you were starting the game just because of the way the lineups fall out,” Snyder said.

Ingles said embraced the role and wants to get better at coming into games cold.

Teammate Dante Exum is looking forward to coming off the bench with Ingles when Exum is healthy enough to play in a game. The lithe guard has a specific request for his fellow Aussie when they play together again.

“I want him to shoot the ball more…hopefully, when I’m on the floor the paint opens up for me and when (opponents) crash, it’s going to be just open shots for (him),” Exum said.

Now that sounds like something Ingles would embrace.