A bit of serendipity as the Clippers sign Australian swingman Joe Ingles, ClipperBlog introduces new contributor Roscoe Whalan, also from “the Land Down Under.” Here are Roscoe’s thoughts on the signing of Ingles.
While Team USA was wrapping up another gold medal at the recent FIBA World Cup, Aussie swingman Joe Ingles was quietly stitching up an NBA contract.
As of publication, there is some discrepancy over the type of contract Ingles will receive. Pick reports the deal is guaranteed. The Orange County Register’s Dan Woike, however, tweets it will be an non-guaranteed deal.
At 26 years old, Ingles has been on the NBA radar for sometime. He went undrafted in 2009 before plying his craft overseas for the past few years (notably for FC Barcelona and Maccabi Tel Aviv).
Last season for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Ingles averaged 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 22.5 minutes per game — enough to help his team, led by new Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, to a Euroleague championship. “Jingles”, as he’s affectionately known, then went on to tear apart the recent World Championships in Spain and cement a spot in the NBA.
In five games for the Australian national team Ingles averaged 11.4 points and 3.2 rebounds to go along with 3.4 assists in just over 30 minutes per game.
Besides an occasional Aron Baynes banging down low, Ingles was the go-to-guy when it came to taking and creating shots for the team. The Boomers constantly relied on Ingles to carry the burden offensively. Ingles’ performance was incredible considering he shot nearly 70 percent from the field (23-for-33) including 6-for-9 from three for the tournament.
Despite the small sample size, Ingles was devastating against Lithuania (the eventual bronze medallists) drilling 18 points along with four rebounds.
He is a supreme athlete. At 6-foot-8, he’s been scouted by clubs for a long time – and not just basketball ones. Back in 2012, he was courted by an Australian Football League side to swap codes (Read: NBA to NFL).
Ingles has a nasty step back J and the lefty loves to launch the ball from deep. He also an unorthodox way of getting to the rack – finishing with an array of leaners and lefty scoop lay-ins, which are almost unguardable.
During Australia’s World Cup game against Mexico, Ingles was smothered defensively – taking just one shot (in the last quarter) for the entire match. However, Ingles found a way to impact the game otherwise, pulling down five boards and dishing out five assists including a couple of rockets through the lane to slashing teammates.
Ingles is renowned for his high basketball IQ. He’s been playing professionally since he was just 18 years old and spent two years at the Australian Institute of Sport (the same program as Dante Exum). Always talented and possessing the physical tools to play the wing, he’s taken a few years to develop some consistency to his jump shot, improve his shot selection and add bulk to his frame.
On the other side of the ball, question marks remain as to how Ingles will cope guarding players at his position in the NBA. Ingles has the size and wingspan (6-foot-10) to manage, but despite his willingness defensively, it remains to be seen whether he can keep up.
It’s not his first shot at the NBA. Ingles has had the chance to make the jump in the past. Just last year the Grizzles offered him a two-year guaranteed deal, which he turned down.
Just yesterday Ingles said he was “99 percent sure” he’d be in the NBA.
“I won’t be on a guaranteed contract and will be trying to make the team but that in itself is motivation for me to go in and work,” he told the Currier Mail’s Boti Nagy.
The haul from the Jared Dudley trade (read: dump) is now complete.
Dudley departs and so too does the first-round pick, but in return the Clippers have retrieved their own 2015 second-rounder and brought in a swag of players on minimum deals including Ekpe Udoh, Chris Douglas-Roberts, a re-signed Hedo Turkoglu and now Joe Ingles.
Ingles’ strengths are not unlike those provided by Turkoglu: he can knock down shots from deep and create for his teammates with his exceptional vision, giving added versatility to the Clippers offense. While Ingles can play a “3-and-D” type roll, he’s best with the ball in his hands trying to create from the top or the wing. He is comfortable bringing the ball up the court but almost invariably goes left. He’s no Manu Ginobli, but he moves somewhat like him with the ball.
The minutes distribution in the frontcourt remains up in the air. However, the Clippers have strategically filled out their roster with players that can battle it out for playing time and provide different looks on the wings. DeAndre Liggins is obviously the odd man out heading into preseason. Ingles is a quality character guy who will have something to prove heading into training camp.
Assuming Liggins is out of the job in LA, the Clippers roster stands at 15.