Joe Ingles is enjoying life in Utah and the NBA
No longer just a cult hero in Utah, Joe Ingles has become one of the more likeable characters across the entire NBA.
His ability to mix banter with a rarely spoken raw human element has allowed him to become one of the more relatable stars in the league. For that reason, media day is always high quality viewing with Joe on the stage.
The Jazz are expected to be one of the heavy hitters come playoff time, bringing back all the key pieces from the 48-win squad that went down in the Conference Semi-Finals last season. Ingles himself, will be looking to back up a career season that saw him average double digit scoring of 11.5 points per game for the first time on a blistering 44 percent from beyond the arc.
Asked how he is able to keep his trademark laid-back attitude given the pressures and stresses the NBA grind involves, his answer was simple.
“I guess I enjoy my life,” Ingles said, drawing laughter from the room.
“I’m in a very, very fortunate position, and I enjoy playing basketball, and I just enjoy life. I don’t know what everyone gets so stressed about all the time. I get to throw the ball around for a living. and go back to the kids. Life’s good.”
Ingles took the podium with the dynamic passing guard from Spain, Ricky Rubio, who wasted no time in taking a shot at his teammate at the first opportunity available. Rubio was asked what it's been like to spend the off-season in Utah, away from National Team duties of years gone by.
“It’s been different,” he said. “In the past we’ve been playing Australia and beating them for a medal.”
Though the press conference was largely filled with laughs and cheeky digs at one another, Ingles was quick to stress that the chemistry within the squad won't automatically translate to repeated success on the court.
"It definitely helps [bringing the team back], it fast tracks a few things. We are just getting Grayson [Allen] up to speed with the rest of us, but at the end of the day it's still a new season so we still have to start fresh and do what we need to do from the start of the year," Ingles said.
It's not only the chemistry within the playing group that has seemingly formed a bond as tight as any in the league, it's familiarity with the coaching staff and Quin Snyder's rigid schemes that promote player movement and unselfishness on the floor.
"I've been lucky since I've been here to only have Quin, I know Ricky has probably had tonnes of coaches in Minnesota and before that," Ingles said.
"Just learning what Coach wants, the details of everything, and I think as the year went on that's where you saw us get better and better. Those [new] guys started to feel more comfortable, and know when they can be aggressive and when it was time to pass the ball."
With expectations from the basketball world high for the Jazz, the sharpshooting Aussie was was quick to play down that outside noise, pointing to the determination from within the group heading into 2018-19.
"That's from the outside really. We have goals within our team group, between the four walls over there, but it's always the outside people that have goals for us. We're just going to come in and do what we do. We know what we need to do to be a good team, and we'll obviously start that as of tomorrow.
"I expect we'll have high expectations of ourselves, because we do want to be a really good basketball team."
With media day out of the way, the Jazz will kick off training camp tomorrow in the lead up to their first preseason hit out against the Perth Wildcats on Sunday morning 11:00 am AEST.