It may not be the starting line-up the Utah Jazz envisioned in October, however as giving more minutes to Australian Boomers teammates Joe Ingles and Dante Exum has resulted in most Jazz wins this season since the Jazz begun suffering a number of player injuries (Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans and Rodney Hood are currently all out).
When Joe Ingles was brought in to to replace Brock Motum on the Jazz roster, many surmised it was simply to act in a mentoring capacity for Dante Exum, to make the teenager more comfortable, as they’ve been Australian National Team ‘mates for some time — roommates even.
It’s doubtful even the most one-eyed Australian basketball fan would have wagered that halfway into this NBA season Joe Ingles would have started in 30% of his NBA games… especially after the rapid speed in which he was released from his initial NBA squad the LA Clippers.
19.7 MPG, 47 GP, 14 GS
4.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.5 APG
Ingles, like Millsap, Hood and Hayward, is a guy with an all-around game to offer, skill-sets in multiple categories. Unlike these other players for Utah, what Ingles does on the court often doesn’t translate into measurable stats as we currently understand them.
Nevertheless, the elder Aussie has been bonza for the Jazz in his last five games: 30.6 minutes, 8.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Ingles’ assist percent of 18.7 is behind only Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward on the season.
With a wry wit and fearless disposition, Slo Mo Joe — deceptively smooth with or without the rock in his hand, often taking an opponent unawares — has quickly become a Utah Jazz fan favourite for good reason. Making a mug out of many an analyst, Ingles appears to have real staying power in the NBA, preferably in Utah.
Due to injury, Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Joe Ingles, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors has been the starting lineup for most of the last month for Quin Snyder, until five games ago when he swapped out Dante Exum for Burke.
The promotion to starting point guard has seen a huge development in Exum’s game.
19.8 MPG, 47 GP, 6 GS
4.9 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 2.1 APG
Ingles’ ankle biter countryman has had his share of struggles, especially since his insertion to the starting lineup, but this was to be expected. Still, he holds his chin up and keeps chugging away. It’s impossible not to like the guy, and his ceiling is no lower now than when we knew very little about him.
The flashes of the future from “X” are more frequent as he finds his footing among the game’s greats. Dante Exum is making an impact on games in ever-growing quantities. Never a skite, Exum isn’t one to shy away from a challenge on defence, although he does seem to be wary of venturing into the paint on the offensive end of the floor still.
Both of these players are now integral parts to the Utah Jazz and the impact they have made in the starting line-up should evolve into more minutes, more output and a substantially larger bank balance for these two men who will be a huge part of our national team next year.