Joe Ingles’ offseason was filled with welcomed additions.
The Utah Jazz wing and his wife, Renae Ingles, welcomed their third child, Jack, into the world just a couple of weeks ago. But that’s not the only reason Ingles was smiling behind his mask as he spoke with reporters at the start of training camp Thursday. Ingles had also just welcomed his pick-and-roll partner Derrick Favors back to Utah.
“I’m a happy man,” Ingles said. “I’m a very happy man.”
Ingles’ vision and passing ability had combined with Favors’ soft hands and ability to finish around the basket to give the Jazz a consistent pick-and-roll threat in the team’s second unit.
“That relationship got built over the time we played together, over five or six years,” Ingles said. “With the way our rotations were, we’d start and we’d both go out at the same time and come back in and have a lot of time out there together.”
So when Favors was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans last season, Ingles felt things were amiss at times on the court.
“He’s obviously a guy I feel super comfortable playing with,” Ingles said. “So when we didn’t have him last year, it was different. I was trying to find my fit with that second unit. I’m really glad he’s back.”
Ingles and Favors stayed in touch throughout last season. After news of Favors’ return to Utah broke, Ingles was one of the first to text the big man and welcome him home.
“Pocket pass. We back!” Ingles wrote in a text.
“Me and him just complement each other really well,” a smiling Favors said recently.” He’s a great guy and a great passer.”
After spending his entire offseason in Utah, Ingles said he is in excellent shape as camp begins.
“Being here and having access to the facility when it was open was something I’ve never done before” in the offseason, Ingles said. “I’ve been going pretty hard for a long time now. I don’t know how long, but it feels like forever. I wanted to be as fit as I could possibly be and I think I’m right there. …
“My shot feels great. My body feels fit. I feel good.”
Ingles, meanwhile, expressed optimism that continuity between last year’s roster and this season’s roster would help the Jazz on the court.
“The system we have is not complicated for me now. But when you have a bigger turnover, there’s a lot of calls that are funny and different,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes on. Like anything, it takes time to adjust.”
Ingles expects his pick-and-roll partner to get back in the groove quickly.
“Fav obviously knows Coach. He knows a lot of the plays. I think the majority of the players here have played with him,” Ingles said. “He’ll fit in very easily.”
And if he has any questions, Favors, like always, can just look to Ingles.
“He’s actually sitting next to me in the locker room,” Ingles said. “I’ll get to catch up with him even more than the last few years.”