Joe Ingles: Utah Jazz Season In Review

Apr 7, 2020, 3:07 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2020, 3:40 pm
Joe Ingles - Utah Jazz - Portland Trailblazers...
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) celebrates after a 3-point shot as the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers play a preseason game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA is in a standstill as a result of the coronavirus outbreak that has sidelined professional sports across the globe. With 18 games left to play in the regular season for the Utah Jazz, and a date with the postseason on the line, it’s unclear when or if the season will return.

With game action in a holding pattern, it’s an ideal time to look at each player on the Jazz roster and how they have performed this season. Have they exceeded or failed to meet expectations, have they improved their game, remained steady, or seen a decrease in their level of play. Finally, how will they impact the team when games return, whether that’s to finish the 2019-20 season, or to begin the 2020-21 season.

The order of player evaluations will be done by jersey number, starting with the team’s lowest, and working to the team’s highest number.

Joe Ingles – 2 – Guard

Stats: 9.8 ppg, 4 rpg, 5.2 apg: .441%/.397%/774%

Perhaps no player on the Jazz roster has faced more adversity on the floor this season than Joe Ingles who has shifted between a role as a sixth man, to starting point guard, and back to the bench over the first 64 games of the season.

However, despite his everchanging role, Ingles numbers are remarkably consistent from last season. Despite a drop in points per game from 12.1 last year to 9.8 this season, a look at his assist, rebounding, and shooting numbers show incredible similarities from last year.

In 2019, Ingles averaged four rebounds, identical to his per-game average this season, while dishing out 5.7 assists, slightly above his 5.2 average through 64 games this year. Ingles .566 effective field goal percentage is up 1/1000th from his .565 average in last season.

In that sense, it’s hard to be critical of Ingles play this season. While that may be fair when examining his season from 30,000 feet, a more nuanced look reveals a wildly inconsistent season from Ingles.

Unsurprisingly, Ingles production is driven largely by his role, fluctuating between excellent play as a starter and inconsistent performances as a bench player.

Ingles began the season as the team’s sixth man, tasked with organizing a group of new-comers in Emmanuel Mudiay, Jeff Green, and Ed Davis to run Quin Snyder’s offense.

Unfortunately for the guard in his sixth year, the experiment was largely a failure to begin the season. Ingles production dipped dramatically from last season, seeing his averages drop to 7.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg while shooting just 36 percent from the floor and 31 percent from three.

Meanwhile, the Jazz bench was regularly being outperformed whenever the team’s starters moved to the bench.

After an injury to starting point guard Mike Conley sidelined the veteran, Ingles was moved into the starting lineup and saw a radical uptick in his play.

Over the next 36 games as a starter, Ingles averages climbed to 11.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 6.1 assists, while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 43 percent from three. The Jazz went 24-12 with Ingles in the starting lineup, including winning 20 of the first 24 games after the move.

After moving back to the bench in favor of a healthy Conley, Ingles saw a stabilization of his averages. Though his points per game once again dipped to just 8.3, his assist average stayed at a healthy 5.1 per game, while his rebounding average hovered at 4.4. Most importantly, Ingles shooting percentages didn’t see a dramatic drop, with his shooting percentage skyrocketing to 58 percent, and his three-point shooting percentage climbing to 44 percent.

It’s fair to say at this point in the season Ingles has seen neither a dip in his play nor a dramatic increase, though a lack of consistency from the versatile guard has plagued the Jazz during their tougher stretches.

For the Jazz to perform at their highest level, Ingles playmaking and shooting will have to be on point, and that’s been a gamble for the Jazz throughout long stretches this year.

The last seven games of the season before the league was sidelined were a promising development for Ingles future as a reserve, but most importantly the Jazz 5-2 record over the stretch indicates that Snyder may have found finally found a winning rotation with both Conley and Ingles in the lineup.

As has seemed to be the case for the organization (see Royce O’Neale), before moving Ingles to the bench, the team agreed to a one-year extension to the Australian guard’s existing contract that will keep him in Utah through 2022 at an average of roughly $12 million per season.

For a player of Ingles caliber, $12 million per season should be a bargain for the next two seasons as long as the veteran in his seventh and eighth seasons doesn’t see a dramatic drop in his play due to his declining athleticism.

Ingles will be 33 going into next season regardless of when the league returns, so a decrease in speed and quickness is on the horizon. However, Ingles game is predominantly predicated on his unique timing, and knowledge of spacing and angles to be effective offensively, none of which should suffer from his athletic decline.

The guard continues to be instrumental for the Jazz as one of the team’s best shooters, and the player with perhaps the best feel for Snyder’s offense. Despite a rough start to the season after his move to the bench, Ingles seems to have stabilized his play and should be a key element in the franchise’s equation over the next few seasons.

Joe Ingles Letter Grade: B-

You can read the rest of the 2019-20 Utah Jazz player evaluations in the links below.

Jordan Clarkson: Utah Jazz Year Season In Review

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

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Joe Ingles: Utah Jazz Season In Review