Projecting Joe Ingles’ ceiling and floor for the 2024 Orlando Magic

Mar 1, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Joe Ingles (7) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Joe Ingles (7) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic entered free agency as one of the few teams in the league possessing significant cap room. Yet, the team was not expected to use it all.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman already declared the 2024 season would be one for growth and development and self-evaluation after the team’s promising finish to the season. This was a team that was not looking to make a major splash.

Still, everyone understood the Magic were not a perfect outfit. They had to own their injury-filled 5-20 start just as much as they had to own their promising 29-28 finish to the season. They still found themselves on the outside of the postseason picture, even if they were the last team eliminated from contention.

The team still needed to make some additions to become a more serious postseason team.

The biggest additions to the team were undoubtedly rookies Anthony Black and Jett Howard. But the addition of veteran Joe Ingles was also a big step for the team.

The Orlando Magic are adding veteran Joe Ingles to the fold this coming season. What can the Magic expect from the veteran sharpshooter? A lot especially as he gets healthier.

Signing Ingles to a two-year, $22-million deal this offseason was Orlando’s “big splash” in this NBA free agency. Ingles spent last season with the Milwaukee Bucks and eight prior seasons with the Utah Jazz.

This signing gives Orlando a new, veteran presence in a young locker room. The Magic were the fourth-youngest team in the league with an average age of 23.94 years old. The 35-year-old NBA forward should assist the team with his wisdom — something Ingles already cheekily notes.

But what are the realistic expectations or highs and lows for Ingles this upcoming season? What can he do to help the Magic get more on the path towards an even bigger winning culture that can find itself competing on a regular basis?

Ceiling: Ingles can be a valuable bench/role player with a lethal shot

It really should not be a secret to anyone that the Orlando Magic needed two things badly this offseason: Perimeter shooting and depth on the wing.

Ingles helps satisfy both of those needs with his versatility to play any wing position and possibly even some at power forward — according to Basketball-Reference, he played 56 percent of his minutes at small forward and 36 percent of his minutes at power forward last year and up to 84 percent of his minutes at power forward during the 2020 season with the Utah Jazz.

He is also an excellent 3-point shooter and perimeter passer. Even in his somewhat limited season last year with the Milwaukee Bucks (he was playing his first year after recovering from a torn ACL) where he averaged 6.9 points per game and shot 40.9 percent from deep with 3.3 assists per game in 22.7 minutes per game.

Ingles should be able to slide into whatever role the Magic need and spread the floor and keep the ball moving for a young team that just needs veteran know-how.

The ability to fit into those roles is doable for the former Milwaukee Buck. He has a career three-point percentage of 40.9 percent. He shot that same percentage last season with the Bucks and it was one of his best perimeter shooting seasons.

Ingles’ three-point shooting goes beyond last season when he was with Milwaukee. He is also the all-time leading long-range scorer in Utah Jazz history.

Orlando is a team that is in need of help with the three-point shot. Last season, they ranked as the sixth-worst team in total three-pointers made (833) and were the seventh-worst team in the league in three-point percentage (34.6 percent). They also took the second-fewest 3-point attempts in the game, often leaving them a hole to dig out of because of their inefficiency from deep.

These shooting numbers can become better over time with a player like Ingles who can get to the 40-percent mark from deep on a consistent basis. Last season, Orlando’s best three-point shooter by percentage last season was Gary Harris who shot 43.1 percent from beyond the arc.

In fact, the Magic did not have another player shot better than 40 percent from three who averages at least 20 minutes per game. The only other 40-percent-plus three-point shooter was Jonathan Isaac (who averaged right around 11 minutes per game and made only 11 appearances all season).

Ingles could complement a game similar to Harris’ game by playing a heavy-shooting role from the wing instead of from the backcourt.

Related Story. Franz Wagner's balanced game may be Orlando Magic's biggest weapon. light

Floor: He could be a role player who provides wisdom with his experience in the league.

The Orlando Magic remain among the five youngest teams in the league. The addition of 35-year-old Joe Ingles makes him the oldest player on the roster. No other player is older than 30 years old (Gary Harris clocks in as the veteran at 29).

Of course with age, Ingles’ flaws may start to show which includes his shooting numbers from an overall standpoint. He has not exceeded 300 field goal attempts in the past two seasons and really does not offer a whole lot on the defensive end.

On top of this, he is two years removed from tearing his ACL. While players typically need a full season playing to fully return from that injury, Ingles is getting older and a return to his prime days with the Utah Jazz might be a stretch.

Ingles, for his part, says he is feeling much better after working through the final stages of his recovery last year in Milwaukee. His game does not rely on athleticism so he may lose a step defensively, but he should still be effective.

He also has been really hit or miss with his assist and rebounding numbers over the course of his career. He put up better numbers in those categories during his time with the Jazz with his averages touching four rebounds per game and sometimes almost six assists per game while in Utah.

However, since the 2020 season, these numbers have decreased and now he has gotten under 200 rebounds and assists in the last two seasons. He tore his ACL midway through the 2022 season and so his focus the last year has been getting himself all the way back on the floor.

These flaws may stick out a lot and can limit the value Ingles provides on the floor as far as creating for his teammates and holding his matchups to low-scoring totals. But, he can definitely be one to be a role model to the younger, developing players on the team while coming off the bench.

Still, Ingles has a jump shot that can revive the Magic’s shooting from beyond the three-point stripe. His percentages from three are still touching the highest marks he has gotten in his career and he can bring his trigger to Orlando.

But, the age bug may catch up to him and reveal the flaws that are beginning to stick out in his game.

Next. Orlando Magic seem to believe they can rely on Jonathan Isaac. dark

The signing by Orlando creates a fill for depth on the wing behind guys like Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner and also helps the shooting struggles they have had in the three-point department.