Jazz coach to Joe Ingles: 'If you play D, you're going to play”

Jazz coach to Joe Ingles: 'If you play D, you're going to play”

SALT LAKE CITY — Know the old adage about how the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach?

When it comes to Jazz coach Quin Snyder and basketball, the key to his heart — and playing time — is through defense.

That explains in part why Joe Ingles is getting more and more opportunities.

Injuries are another factor, of course. So is his insanely good 3-point shooting.

Snyder appreciates the renewed focus the Australian wing has put on defense this season. The coach pointed out that Ingles is more consistent, more physical and more aggressive.

The Jazz needed Ingles’s defensive boost Monday night as they rallied to win a close one against the Suns in Phoenix.

“He’s had that in him,” Snyder said.

It came out once Ingles fully grasped the message his coach was sending his way. Snyder said this was the advice he gave the 29-year-old: “If you play D, you’re going to play. That’s the way to stay on the floor. He likes to shoot enough that he wants to play defense.”

Snyder laughed, but it’s working out great this season that Ingles has turned into a 3-and-D type of player. Most people continue to be impressed by the fact he’s leading the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage (46 percent), but his defensive efforts, including a solid showing against LeBron James, aren’t going unnoticed either.

“He spaces the floor very well with his 3-point shot, but at the same time he’s a great defender,” said Jazz point guard George Hill, whose tweaked ankle is feeling good enough to play on in Dallas. “He may not be the fastest, but he’s very smart, very competitive, he wants to win. He brings a lot of leadership and depth as far as the offense. I think a lot of people sleep on what he can do on the defensive end.”

The Jazz, who’ve won four in a row, will need him again Friday night against the Mavericks, winners of three straight, because of Rodney Hood’s knee injury. Hood will travel with the team but won’t be available to play. That worked out fine for Utah on Monday when Ingles scored 11 points and had a team-high plus/minus rating of plus-14 in 34 minutes.

Ingles also had five assists, three threes and two steals in that 106-101 win.

“We’ve obviously been unfortunate. This time it’s Rodney,” Ingles said, referring to the Jazz’s injury situation. “We’ve had guys in and out all year. For me, I just go out there and play defense, hit some open shots and keep it rolling.”

Snyder said Ingles has earned his trust.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence that ‘s come I think from a very, very transparent relationship where I’ve said hard things to him about what I think he needs to do as a player and what he’s done it or not done it,” Snyder explained.

“As a result, I think there’s a trust that’s there. I can tell him when I think he’s made a mistake and he’ll accept it and correct it. That kind of relationship ultimately builds confidence.”

Snyder has noticed that Ingles, an older three-year NBA veteran, doesn’t just have confidence, but he has a desire to learn, to play well and simply to contribute, too.

“He’s been hungry,” Snyder said. “Anytime you have a player who’s hungry to do something, as a coach you’d better pay attention. It usually means he’ll be successful doing it.”

Ingles credits the defensive improvement to being more focused.

“(I’m) concentrating, locking in on who I’m guarding I guess, knowing a few tendencies to be able to help me,” Ingles said, pointing out that he’s not just standing around and getting to his opponent late when the ball is floating around.

“I think this season I’ve been a lot more locked into my guy and what’s going on to be able to break it up before it happens instead of being the guy chasing or being screened.”

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Snyder added that it helps that Ingles doesn’t have a make-or-miss mentality this season, meaning his mind isn’t only keying in on the offensive side.

“I think the biggest thing for Joe has just been he’s completely thrown himself into the group,” Snyder said. “That’s what defense does.”

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Published at Fri, 20 Jan 2017 01:30:00 +0000