Australian Joe Ingles is entering his third straight playoffs for the Utah Jazz and he is more vital to their chances than ever.
The 31-year-old continues to prove himself at the elite level and is clearly an incredibly important cog in the Utah machine.
Remarkably, Ingles hasn’t missed a game for the Jazz since December 16 2015, which is the longest current streak in the NBA. Which means in recent times, the Jazz faithful haven’t had to experience what life is like without ‘Jingles’.
Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey recently put into context just how good Joe has been over his career.
The Aussie has a true shooting percentage of 58.7%, a 20% assist percentage and a 2.1% steal percentage. These numbers put him in pretty elite company.
As for these playoffs, Ingles will most likely have the job on James Harden for the plenty of Utah’s opening series.
Last year the Jazz threw a number of different defensive looks at Harden, however he still managed to average 28 points and 7.4 assists per game, guiding the Rockets to a five-game series victory.
If Utah are going to progress through the first round Ingles defence will be incredible important. As will his offence and his ability to set the tempo for the Jazz.
It is unclear as to whether Ricky Rubio or Raul Neto will be fit for the opener, meaning plenty of the playmaking will be left to Ingles.
He has shown throughout the season and during his time with the Jazz, that he is super crafty as the ball-handler in the pick and roll situation, which will bring Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favours into the game.
We all know Ingles can bury the three and score the ball at a decent rate, but if he can get the likes of Gobert and Favours cheap baskets underneath the ring, it will be huge for the Jazz.
Gobert is a key barometer for Utah. He is a player who isn’t going to create too much with his back to the basket, so anytime Ingles can find him getting at the ring will be huge.
It’s a tough road this year for the Jazz, because if they get past James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets they will most likely have to face Golden State in the second round.
Although it seems like an uphill battle, if Joe Ingles is in the zone who knows what they’ll be able to dish up.