Joe Ingles: The man for all reasons

MEMPHIS - It was a wet and cold night in Memphis, and inside the FedExForum, the Grizzlies performed well to knock over Utah 114-104.

The visitors hung tough for most of the game but struggled to bridge the gap, an issue which head coach Quin Snyder spoke about after the game.

“We had a couple of clean looks [down the stretch] that were good shots we didn’t make,” he said.

“When that happens on the other end you have to get stops...but during those possessions we weren’t able to get crucial stops.”

Joe Ingles did all he could for the Jazz in the loss, recording 14 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds. He helped keep the Jazz in the game but sadly it wasn’t enough on the night.

It has been a difficult season for Ingles off the court, with his son being diagnosed with autism earlier this year. However, the 31-year-old continues to perform at a high level on the floor and the league is well aware of it.

“Obviously they’ve [Utah] got two guys on the perimeter, Mitchell and Ingles, who are capable of changing the game,” said Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff prior to the game.

The one thing that always gets mentioned when Ingles’ name pops up is his skill at running the offence. Bickerstaff pointed it out pre-game when discussing what makes him a game-changer.

“His ability to play make and score.”

Ingles connection with forward Derrick Favors has caught plenty of attention this season, and for good reason.

The pair have been running the pick and roll incredibly well, but the Aussie explained that it isn’t something that’s happened over night.

“Obviously me and Favors have played together for a long time,” Ingles said.

“The more you play with someone, the more comfortable you get. You know what he wants to do. You know where he is going to go. Obviously I’m comfortable throwing it to him cause I throw it to him a lot. It’s a good rhythm.”

The Jazz’s time in Memphis has been about more than just basketball, with the team visiting the Civil Rights Museum while in town. Despite being an overseas player, the stop still had an impact on Ingles.

“For me, obviously being from Australia, not knowing a whole lot about it, it was good to see and read about it,” he explained.

“Something I’m glad I did. I should have done it five years ago when I first got here, but something I’m glad I did and obviously it gives you a bit more of an understanding of the history.”

As for Ingles and the Boomers, the three-time Olympian made it very clear when I asked him about whether he will put his hand up to play in this year’s FIBA World Cup.

“I’m not going to put my hand up, I’m GOING to play in the World Cup [laughs]. I’ll be there.”

Joe Ingles is the consummate professional. A family man who gets the job done on and off thecourt and takes pride in representing his country. And no doubt his country should take pride in him.