2024 Orlando Magic Player Outlook: Joe Ingles brings veteran versatility

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 /

In an era where three-point shooting is nearly essential, adding a veteran role player like Joe Ingles gives you that and more. Especially for a Magic team that is overly young and in need of some shooting.

The Orlando Magic head into the upcoming season as one of the younger teams in the league once again. With an average age of 23.6 years old on the Magic roster, experience is exactly what this upcoming team can use.

Versatility is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about what the Australian forward brings to Orlando. The spacing he is able to provide with being such a sharpshooter who can shoot off the dribble or catch-and-shoot will prove to be invaluable.

The Orlando Magic needed to find a veteran leader for their locker room and some shooting to better space the floor. They found both in signing veteran forward Joe Ingles this offseason.

Ingles is a highly efficient sharpshooter and has been throughout his career. Last season in his 45 games with the Milwaukee Bucks he shot 40.9 percent from beyond the arc, 39.0 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers along with 46.9 percent on pull-up 3-point shooters.

It cannot be understated how much the Magic could use this kind of a shooter for their team. The Magic finished last season 27th in the league with 31.1 3-point attempts per game and 24th in the league at 34.6 percent shooting from deep. Orlando hit only 36.0 percent of their catch-and-shoot 3-pointers (22nd in the league) and 29.9 percent of their pull-up 3-pointers (29th in the league) according to data from Second Spectrum.

It was safe to say the Magic needed to address this shooting need in some fashion during this offseason.

Orlando drafted Anthony Black and Jett Howard with the sixth and 11th overall picks back in June to add playmaking, shooting and spacing to a team that ranked in the lower end in most three-point categories last season. With those players entering their rookie season, they will need some time to get adjusted to what will be a long 82-game season.

With that, Joe Ingles gives third-year coach Jamahl Mosley a player who can come in instantly and make an impact right away for Orlando.

Ingles possesses a lot of similar traits to the two rookies Black and Howard.

Black is a two-way guard with gifted athleticism and playmaking abilities. Howard is a 3-point shooting threat on and off the ball with solid defensive skills and elite footwork.

Ingles leads by example with his playmaking, by spacing the floor and by making meaningful plays when called upon. This should really help these young players’ transition to the NBA be much smoother.

Having spent eight seasons with the Utah Jazz and one season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ingles brings experience, along with defense and exceptional passing skills. The combination of those traits in Joe Ingles’ role will take the weight off of players like Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, and others and will allow them to play off the ball.

The addition of Ingles to a group of shooting threats in Gary Harris, Caleb Houston, Jett Howard and the rest of the players who will get better from deep, gives Orlando an immediate upgrade in that department from 2023.

Heading into this year though, his greatest impact could be his experience and veteran presence within the lockroom.

In this day and age, it is quick to forget but Ingles is the Jazz’s all-time franchise leader in three-point field goals made with 1,071 and fifth in career assists. He has played in 49 playoff games, 636 regular season games, and four Olympics along with most recently representing Australia in the FIBA World Cup. Ingles averaged 6.6 points per game and 3.0 rebounds per game off the bench for Australia, as they bowed out in the second round.

International play brings a different level of physicality and toughness which is something you want to possess as a team especially when you are looking to become a consistent playoff team.

With all that being said, the addition of Ingles has the potential to be a very beneficial signing with the only concern really being that he has not played more than 50 games in two seasons.

Ingles is coming off a torn ACL midway through the 2022 season. He returned last year and was able to make an impact on the shot-happy Bucks team. He said he feels much stronger than he did last year as he completes his recovery from that major injury.

Perhaps the only concern with Ingles then is that at 36 he is running low on time to recover from such a major injury. When players in the NBA age, they age quickly.

Then again, Ingles’ game does not rely heavily on athleticism. Orlando needs him to move the ball effectively and shoot when he is on the court. And then they need his veteran presence and know-how for a young team off the court.

With a team option on the second year of his contract, he was always a low-risk signing — despite the $11 million price tag.

Having played with superstars such as Giannis Atetokumpo and Donovan Mitchell, along with other big-time players in Rudy Gobert and Jrue Holiday. Ingles can provide knowledge and experience from playing with players who rank among the best in the league.

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Veteran presence, sharpshooting playmaking ability stand out when Ingles plays. In today’s era of positionless basketball and three-point shooting, teams want a role player or two with experience at a high level doing both of those things.