The bright lights of the NBA shined on Dante Exum and Joe Ingles, who both made their debuts at home against the Houston Rockets today, going down 104-93.
A solid, yet impressive debut for Dante, who played just under 10 minutes, putting up five points, nailing a three pointer and making a steal to go coast-to-coast for a lay-up. He added one, steal, one turnover and an eye-catching assist….a thundering alley-oop to Rudy Gobert. Ingles checked in for just four minutes of action.
Having Joe join his Boomers roommate this season will be great for Dante, not just from a comfort standpoint, but how awesome is it that you get a job in another country and then your good mate gets the same job with you. It rarely happens and it’s definitely awesome.
Yesterday I spoke with Dante on a teleconference with other Australian journalists and he described the moment he found out Ingles was joining the Jazz. He was getting his learners permit of all things at the time.
“I had a message from Joe saying whaddup teammate.”
“Then some of the Twitter feeds started coming through that he was coming to Utah so you know I was definitely excited.”
Instantly makes me think this is how they will check into games this season:
Unfamiliarity is one of the biggest challenges facing all NBA rookies. New city, new job, new house, new teammates, new coach and for these two, a new country and having Joe in Utah will no doubt speed up 19-year-old Dante settling in.
“Exum turned in his best practice so far. Better defensively.”
“I don’t know if it was just having the influence of having Joe Ingles in town, but he had a very, very good practice yesterday. One of the better defensively,
The great news of Ingles being signed by the Jazz brings multiple benefits to this young team.
For starters, Joe is probably the funniest athlete I’ve ever interviewed or come across. His sense of humour, character and locker room presence will be a huge asset.
Having Joe by Dante’s side will help immensely off the court, but on the court there is real potential for Joe to play some great rotation minutes ahead of Jordan Hamilton as part of the Jazz second unit.
“Joe can really pass, Joe can really handle, really do a lot of different things with the basketball,” Locke said on his podcast.
“ [Coach] Quin [Snyder] really wanted a wing who could pass and keep the pace of the ball moving offensively.
Not only is Joe a good shooter and facilitator, he is 100% comfortable handling the ball for long stretches, something he will be able to relieve the Jazz point guards of, especially Dante if he is getting swarmed, providing an additional element to the second unit’s offence.
It is something that I particularly love about Gordon Hayward’s game, he drifts in and out sometimes and plays multiple roles, but Hayward’s ability and willingness to make plays from the wing can now have some continuity in the second unit, with Ingles performing that role.
It’s only been one game, but early indications are positive for what both Joe and Dante will bring to the Jazz this season.
As exciting as it is to see them make their debuts, there will be plenty of ups and downs for the rookie duo as the hefty playing schedule takes its toll. Something that was made even more apparent by Locke who said he made the comment to Dante a few nights ago in Oklahoma City that he’s got 84 [games] left, to which Dante responded, I don’t think I’ve played 84 games in my life.
The Jazz take on the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow at 11:30am (AEDT)