While the Jazz are ramping things up, Joe Ingles continues to get zero credit.
As the NBA is set to embark on the second half of its season following the All-Star festivities over the weekend, the Utah Jazz find themselves in an unexpected playoff chase. Following the departure of star forward Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics this past offseason, very few believed that the Jazz would make any noise this season. However, with rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell leading the charge with solid play from Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert, that simply isn’t the case. Oh yes, the team is also receiving exceptional performances by guard Joe Ingles, who to this point, you might still not be familiar with.
On January 22nd, the Jazz were sitting at 19-28 after they suffered a defeat to the Atlanta Hawks, who are tied for the worst record in the NBA. At that point, it seemed like there truly was no hope for a young Jazz squad that seemingly lacked leadership and a direction.
And then, all of a sudden, something clicked. After that game, heading into the All-Star Break, the Jazz strung off a series of 11 consecutive wins to put themselves at 30-28 and in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. In that 11 game span, the team as a whole increased their offensive rating from 105.3 to 112.3 and improved their defensive rating from 106.9 to 97.7. Their net rating skyrocketed from a -1.6 to 14.6.
While much of the Jazz’s recent success can be attributed to the breakout of Donovan Mitchell, who has already drawn comparisons to Dwyane Wade with his style of play, Ingles has really become a spark plug for Utah. In his past 11 games, Ingles is shooting an incredible 54% beyond the arc on about 6.5 attempts from deep per game. He’s averaging 15.9 points per game to go along with 3.9 assists and a plus/minus of +166 in that 11 game span. It is really a shame that Ingles wasn’t invited to participate in the Three Point Contest during All-Star Weekend, and a bit shocking that guys like Devin Booker (38.3%) and Wayne Ellington (38.7%) were involved (Booker went on to win the contest, but that is beside the point).
Lowe Post podcast superstar Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) has basically lost his mind over the last 10 days. Holy smokes.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 13, 2018
Ingles hasn’t only been on a tear offensively, but he’s been a defensive stopper for the Jazz. His defensive rating was a 94.4 over the 11-game win streak, which is sixth best in the NBA during that span. FWIW, it isn’t as if all of the Jazz opponents were pushover’s, Ingles has had to guard the likes of Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, and C.J. McCollum.
It will be quite interesting to see if Ingles and the Jazz can keep their run going when Utah begins the stretch run of their season on Friday against the Trail Blazers. Coming off of over a week of rest, they certainly figure to come out of the gate fast.
As for the Ingles haters specifically, there is still time to see just how big of an impact he’s had on this Jazz team. And, while he was snubbed for the Three Point Contest, it would be unwise for voters to not give him at least some consideration for NBA’s Most Improved (some votes — at this point it is clear Victor Oladipo is the favorite).
With that, I’ll leave you with this…
Kevin Durant puts blame on himself for his defense on Joe Ingles pic.twitter.com/dKpjhDZO90— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 31, 2018
Edited by Kat Johansen.
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