Q&A: ESPN's Zach Lowe on Joe Ingles, the Utah Jazz's All-Star candidates, and the DPOY race
Joe Ingles’ journey to the NBA has been winding.
This week, overlooking the Manhattan skyline, the Utah Jazz forward took a moment to reflect.
“Me and Rudy are the only two left from Quin’s first year here,” Ingles told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “I didn’t think that would be me.”
The 32-year-old Aussie joined the NBA writer on his Lowe Post podcast to discuss the Jazz’s nine-game win streak, the difference between starting and coming off the bench, his patented ball-fake layup (“I don’t know why it still works”), trash-talking with Paul George and Jimmy Butler, the wildfires ravaging his country, and how Ingles went from a world-traveling journeyman to a player “so embedded in the Utah Jazz’s DNA”.
After their conversation, Lowe discussed Ingles, Rudy and Donovan’s All-Star chances, and the highs and lows of the team’s season with utahjazz.com.
Q: What’s your takeaway after a conversation with Joe?
A: “It’s always interesting to me that guys who overcome unconventional paths to the NBA don’t think it’s remarkable,” Lowe said. “We were just talking about Duncan Robinson in Miami. Joe was giving me crap about trying to get Duncan Robinson into the 3-point shootout. Joe and Duncan Robinson don’t think their stories are remarkable. It’s like, no, I’m good. I needed some opportunity and I needed to change some things but I’m just a good basketball player.”
Q: What’s one thing you’ve liked about the Jazz so far?
A: “I like that the offense has started to resemble what we think of as a Quin Snyder offense, which it was not the first month of the season. Particularly now that Bojan Bogdanovic is doing a little bit of everything. He’s a more skilled offensive player than what people the last couple of years.
Q: What’s one thing you don’t like?
A: “It’s weird that the Ed Davis signing hasn’t worked out yet. I didn’t see that coming. The bench has struggled but that’s changed lately.”
Q: How many All-Stars will this team have?
A: “I’m going to say one. When I made my preliminary picks last week, I had both Donovan and Rudy in. It’s going to be close for both of them. Devin Booker is going to be out there as a possibility. Brandon Ingram is surging. Even the Spurs guys are starting to come out of nowhere a little bit. I think the Jazz are going to get one but honestly they’re both deserving. Rudy’s position is a little thinner. I hope it’s Rudy because it’s a joke he didn’t make it last year. It’s a joke.”
Q: Donovan Mitchell is averaging 24.2 points per game. What has jumped out to you about his game this year?
A: “Nothing has really surprised me. His midrange shot looks better, which is good because he’s taken a lot of them. He looks very confident, particularly in crunch time, taking that shot. I’m waiting to see how it shakes out when Mike Conley comes back. I thought that fit would be a little easier than it was proving to be before Conley got hurt. I thought Donovan would get more catch-and-shoot 3s; he’s like a 40-percent catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter. It didn’t materialize that way right away and that surprised me.”
Q: What do you think about Rudy’s chances at becoming the three-time Defensive Player of the Year?
A: “Honestly, he’s been as advertised. I think he’s even better than he has been in previous years at venturing out a little farther when he has to in pick-and-roll. Giannis, AD, Embiid—it’s going to be a tight race. I think it could come down to some voters looking at the team’s defensive ranking. Utah’s about 10 right now. That’s not Rudy’s fault, they’re even better when he’s playing. But I think voters could look at that so that number probably has to be a little better.”