Will Joe Ingles actually help the Milwaukee Bucks?
Ingles in Milwaukee makes perfect sense, but can he actually regain the form needed to assist the Bucks next season?
Joe Ingles on the Milwaukee Bucks just feels right, doesn’t it?
Ingles follows a long lineage of Australians —including Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker— who have cycled through the Cream City. His methodical, intellectual playing style anecdotally suits a Bucks supporting cast that leveraged these very skills around Giannis Antetokounmpo to claim a championship in 2021. His skillset — headlined by a career 41% three-point shooting percentage — synchronises with a Bucks side that ran out of reliable contributors in a season ending defeat to the Boston Celtics.
The theory of Ingles on the court in Milwaukee is unimpeachable. The Bucks need elite role players who can excel with low usage within playoff settings. Ingles has built a career in this space. His assist to usage rate (1.32) ranked in the 97th percentile among all players last season, per Cleaning The Glass. Jevon Carter, a fringe rotation piece, was the only Milwaukee player remotely close to Ingles in this metric.
Milwaukee's contractual commitment to Ingles — a one year, full taxpayer mid-level exception valued at US$6.5 million — is chump change in the current NBA ecosystem, although it represented the Bucks' lone opportunity to significantly bolster their roster in free agency. Boxed in with a salary structure without wriggle room — Milwaukee's best three players are getting paid 91% of the salary cap next season — while being devoid of draft capital, limited Milwaukee's options this July. They had one salary slot available and decided to spend all of their fun coupons on Ingles, the moment free agency opened.
Investing in Ingles is a high upside gamble for the Bucks. The Australian's hypothetical fit is everything a contending franchise desires, but there are valid concerns as to whether Ingles can contribute when Milwaukee will need him most.
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