Joe Ingles is slumping at the wrong time for the Utah Jazz, who have lost five in a row. They need him to get back to who he is and not blend in.
All is not well for the Utah Jazz right now. Losers of five straight, the Jazz have also lost every bit of the momentum that they garnered in their previous hot stretch that saw them winners of 19 of 21 games.
It’s pretty crazy how fast things can change, but that’s the NBA for you. The Jazz are facing much stronger competition these days and have to pull themselves out of this funk.
One thing that would certainly help is if Joe Ingles can find his groove again. The 32 year old has had massive struggles during this losing streak, averaging just 5.4 points and 5.8 assists while shooting 25 percent from the three-point line.
Ingles also had some struggles in the beginning of the season while coming off the bench as the sixth man. He thrived in the starting lineup and that’s why Utah has moved Royce O’Neale to the bench instead.
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Now, with Utah integrating Mike Conley back into the starting unit, Ingles has hit a wall. He’s been a ghost in the past few games, missing open shots, getting blown by on defense and often times finding himself just standing and watching.
Defense in general has been a struggle for mostly everyone on the roster as of late, but Ingles’ perimeter D might just be the worst of the bunch. He’s typically a good defender, so it’s surprising to see him so nonchalant on that end of the court.
I understand that Ingles is still trying to find his fit with Conley and the rest of the starting lineup, but the Jazz are going to need him to step up again, and quickly. He’s had a hard time adjusting without the ball in his hands as much.
Ingles is just too important to what the Jazz do. Just look at what he was doing in December and January.
In December, Ingles shot 53 percent from deep, averaging 14.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists in the process. In January, he kept his foot on the gas, shooting 42 percent from deep with 11.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists averages.
Ingles was practically the point guard during this stretch. He doesn’t have the ball nearly as much with Conley and Mitchell doing the majority of the ball handling and it’s hurt him. It doesn’t help that he’s getting open looks, just not hitting them.
Here’s the thing with Ingles — when he’s on, he’s an incredible player that gives you production across the board. When he’s off, he tends to sort of blend in. He’ll still give you a solid playmaking option, along with his gravity, but the difference is very noticeable.
Ingles, though, is obviously a really good all-around veteran, so I’m sure he will figure it out. All of Jazz Nation is behind him, as he is one of the most liked players in franchise history, I would say.
Let’s hope he can snap out of this funk and get back to his three-splashing, smack-talking ways. I cannot say it enough; the Utah Jazz need Joe Ingles to perform at a steady level whether he’s starting or coming off the bench.