As the dust settles on Joe Ingles overtime, Euro League championship win with Maccabi Tel Aviv, my attention now turns to what teams could best use the young Australian’s talents.
Ingles was a key player in the Israeli clubs 6th Euroleague championship win, leading the team in assists, rebounds and steals throughout the regular season. Despite only playing seven minutes in the final against Real Madrid, Ingles had one of his best seasons in Europe to date.
Also coming off a strong 2012 London Olympics where he averaged 15.0 points, 4.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game, per basketball-reference.com, now seems as good a time as ever for an NBA team to pick up the 6 foot 8(203cm) small forward.
These are 3 teams which I believe could use Joe’s talent the most.
It’s safe to say Detroit’s experiment with a Smith-Monroe-Drummond front court failed miserably. The Pistons finished with a 29-53 record, missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season, largely due to their awful floor spacing. Collectively, they shot a terrible 32.1 per cent from behind the three-point line (Per NBA.com), while according to basketball-reference.com, only Kyle Singler (38.2 per cent) and Josh Harrellson (38.7 per cent) shot above the league average of 36 per cent.
Looking at these stats it’s clear that the Pistons did not shoot the ball with any consistency, which is where Joe Ingles comes into the equation.
Ingles shot a great 41.1 per cent from the arc on almost 2.5 attempts this season in the Euroleague, which easily puts him ahead of any current Piston players. With many expecting Greg Monroe to leave or be traded during this off season, and with Josh Smith expected to move back to his natural position at Power Forward it leaves an opening at small forward that could be adequately filled by Ingles.
Ingles is also an exceptional passer for his position, averaging roughly 3 assists to 1 turnover this year with Maccabi, considerably better than Detroit’s current small forward, Kyle Singler, who has averaged only 0.9 assists through his first two seasons.
Although there would be many upsides to Detroit going after Ingles, the organization may be weary of signing another player straight out of Europe, after the signing of Italy’s Luigi Datome didn’t turn out as expected.
San Antonio Spurs
While the San Antonio Spurs continue their incredible run of success(they’ve made the playoffs in 24 of the last 25 seasons), they have a need for a small forward on their roster.
Currently, the only natural small forwards in the team are Kawhi Leonard and Austin Daye. Manu Ginobili often spends time at the forward position, but his age is starting to show and it looks increasingly likely that he’ll start to see a reduction in his total minutes played.
Daye has been largely unimpressive throughout his five year career, averaging 5.4 points, 0.8 assists and 2.1 rebounds. In other words, there’s a reason why he’s been largely used as trade bait and played for four different teams in the past two years.
While Daye has been mostly disappointing so far, if Spurs coach Greg Popovich were to give Ingles a lifeline he would be receiving an undiscovered talent, that is yet to be tested in the NBA; arguably a great improvement over Daye’s consistent under performance.
Ingles also fits the Spurs “no frills” style of play. He led Maccabi in rebounds and steals during the regular season, showing that hes prepared to perform the nitty-gritty tasks that San Antonio thrive on.
Despite these positives, and the fact that Popovich has a proven history with gambling on largely unproven Australians(Both Aron Baynes and Patty Mills are on the Spurs roster), he also has a long history of finding average players and adapting them into his system to make them far better.
Los Angeles Lakers
Here’s the deal. The LA Lakers have a total of 3 players who are guaranteed a contract next season. That total jumps up to 5 if they choose to take on Kendall Marshall’s team option and if Nick Young exercises his player option.
With the Lakers having one of their worst seasons in franchise history(finishing with a dismal 27-55 record) and a thrown together roster, it looks as if most players will be on their way out. The Lakers name will always be able to pull talent into the city, but the odds of them being able to pull 10+ players are slim.
Looking towards Europe is a great way for them to fill out their roster, and Ingles fills in a position where they may have zero players in a couple of months time. Ingles also offers a number of other positives if he was to wind up on the most famous team in basketball.
The Lakers were awful on the boards last season, averaging only 41 rebounds per game this season, good for 25th in the league(per basketball-reference.com). The intensity and physicality that Ingles brings to the basketball court could help them hugely, as the players left on the roster(Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Nick Young, Robert Sacre and Kendall Marshall) aren’t collectively known to be all that interested in chasing down rebounds.
Most of all, if Ingles were given a lifeline by the Lakers he would bring a positive attitude that was nowhere to be found this season in LA.
Ingles would be eager and excited at just the prospect of playing in the NBA, and I’m sure he would bring his extremely humble attitude with him. At times this Lakers team has come across as entitled and unenthusiastic, but by injecting the Australian small forward into the organization, I believe his attitude would be infectious, even to a player like Kobe Bryant.