Joe Ingles' NBA rookie season is complete. And what a great season it was for Slo-Mo Joe. After following Ingles closely throughout his rookie season, I have to say I'm proud of what he was able to accomplish, especially after not being with the Jazz during training camp.
Ingles turned out to be somewhat of a veteran presence on a team filled with young, exciting guys. He took this role in his stride and clearly loved his first season in the NBA.
Tough one tonight. Loved every minute of playing with this group of guys. Exciting future.. Thanks to all the fans for support! #JazzNation
— Joe Ingles (@Joeingles7) April 16, 2015
After being cut by the Los Angeles Clippers just before the season began, Ingles had to quickly adjust to a very different role when he was picked up by the Jazz just two days before opening night.
He finished the season with averages of 5 points, 2.3 assists, 2.2 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. What was most impressive about Ingles' season were his last 20 games of the season. During that stretch the Jazz went 12-8, and Ingles averaged 7.5 points, 1.9 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1 steal per game.
Over the course of the season Ingles developed a legitimately dangerous outside shot. This was at the forefront of Ingles' game against Denver in early April when he drained 4/5 from beyond the arc.
Utah Jazz Exit interview
As is the norm for NBA players, Ingles had an exit interview to take a look back at the season that was.
When asked about what next season could hold, Ingles highlighted his desire to stay in Utah, "Both side are pretty mutually interested in coming back... We'll obviously see what happens, I think everyone knows I'm free, but definitely [there's] mutual interest."
Talking about fellow Aussie Dante Exum, Ingles reiterated the positive season his team mate had, "I think he was great. Obviously as a 19-year-old and playing his first year of professional basketball naturally it was going to be up and down for him, I think everyone knows it was. But he was great. The progress he made, the steps he took from little things to bigger things were great for him and obviously for the team as well."
Asked to assess his season personally, Ingles gave an honest assessment,
I'm personally happy with the progress I made throughout the year."
"I've still got a ton things I want to work on individually and I'll do that this summer. Obviously with no national team it makes it a bit easier; I won't really have any commitments team wise for that so I can concentrate on myself a lot more."
Interview on 'The Zone'
Ingles caught up with the boys from 1280 'The Zone' for the final time this season.
Reflecting back on the season, Ingles found plenty of positives, "Obviously coming from Europe, the detour I took to get here and coming at 27 it was different to a lot of people and I mean honestly coming in at the start I didn't know if I was going to play or not at all."
I probably started out a little shaky and didn't really show people and the staff what I was here to do."
"The greatest thing for me was Quin [Snyder] had known me in Europe and kind of known what I'd done. To have his confidence and belief to keep putting me in and keep giving me confidence, and now to be playing the way I was and starting 30-something games."
It's a bit of a dream come true. And I'm just excited for what's next and the future really."
When asked if it is satisfying to prove to everyone that he belongs in the NBA, Ingles answered with some interesting points.
There are moments where you just kind of want to shove it up people because of what they say."
"We hear what people say and we read what people say. But I've always played for the love of the game and to win. That's really it. I've never thought about trying to prove anyone wrong. I play and my family watches and they're proud of me, my fiancée is proud of me. My team mates are the people I want respect from and the people close to the organisation. As long as those guys are happy with me, I'm pretty satisfied."
Ingles definitely deserves a long break after playing 79 games of basketball in his rookie campaign. Here's hoping there are plenty more seasons of watching 'Jingles' in Utah.