Joe Ingles and the New Orleans Pelicans a Perfect Fit

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Published: June 1, 2013

Flash-back to the 2012 London Olympics and the basketball world was transfixed on how Team-USA would win their next gold-medal. Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony led the way as they walked easily towards their goal of being the best basketball nation in the world.

One of the sub-plots to transpire was the emergence of Australian small-forward Joe Ingles. The Boomers were down Andrew Bogut and had to rely on several young players to carry the team. Many predicted that Patrick Mills would be the player to do this. However, it was Joe Ingles who emerged as the best player on the team.

The 2009 NBA draft saw Ingles go undrafted. Many NBA teams loved his potential, but an untested swing-man who didn’t have a terrific jump-shot scared many teams. They wanted to see more.

Ingles tested himself in training camps that year and eventually decided to head to Europe. There he eventually transferred to one of the best teams, FC Barcelona and eventually worked his way towards more playing time. He developed his jump-shot, worked on his ball-handling skills and improved defensively.

Joe is a very athletic player and his time and Europe helped him tremendously. This leads us back to London where he shined. There he averaged 15 points per-game, 4.2 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Against the USA he was tremendous. He scored 19 points, had 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 made three-pointers.

NBA Scouts perked their ears up and have taken notice.

His versatility and improved shooting to go along with his excellent ability to pass the ball and defend makes him an attractive prospect.

This leads us to the New Orleans Pelicans who have an issue at the small-forward position. Al-Farouq Aminu never really moulded into the player that the organisation had hoped for. His inconsistency and inability to stretch the floor or handle the ball made him somewhat of a liability. Now New Orleans is on the look-out for that versatile wing-defender to pair with Anthony Davis.

Joe Ingles makes perfect sense for the Pelicans because he brings exactly what they need. He doesn’t have to be the primary ball-handler, but isn’t a liability to shoot the ball. Defensively he can guard opposing wings (Joe posted the 7th fastest Agility at the 2009 NBA combine, as fast as Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison).

The Pelicans have plenty of cap-space this summer and can afford to take a risk on a European player. If Ingles doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world, the 2014 Draft waits. Joe can come in and contribute and if that happens then Dell looks like a genius.

He’s been tested and is hungry to prove himself in the NBA. Scouts have overlooked him and he knows his window is closing, “I’m 25, turning 26, and the window is closing [on a chance to play in the NBA], not too fast but it is closing.”

Whether the Pelicans decide to head in this direction will ultimately be up to Dell. However the notion that New Orleans needs to solve all the problems through in the good ole USA is grossly off-point.

Ingles value is not far off a minimum at this point, but increased competition for his service may mean teams might have to pay a bit more than expected. Joe’s contract has just expired with FC Barcelona. A 2 year/$6 million deal with the second year a team-option would be somewhere in the ball-park for his value.

Regardless of what you think of Australians, Joe Ingles and the Pelicans are a perfect fit in New Orleans.

What do you think the Pelicans should do? Is Ingles a good fit? Let us know in the comment section below. You can reach James on Twitter here @jsgrayson.

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