Joe Ingles has become a leader for the Utah Jazz, even with veteran role players such as Joe Johnson. Picture: AP
Joe Ingles has become a leader for the Utah Jazz, even with veteran role players such as Joe Johnson. Picture: AP

Aussie Joe Ingles puts basketball world in a spin

THE journeyman from the Adelaide suburb of Happy Valley, Joe Ingles, can't stop smiling - having shot an Aussie NBA playoff record 27 points - and his proud dad reckons Joe's US triumph is big-screen material.

Modest Ingles has set the NBA alight, in career-best form for Utah Jazz in the Western Conference playoffs.

"I was lucky enough to get a few to fall early," said Ingles, 30, who is married to Australian netballer Renae.

The guy who looks more like a Bunnings hardware assistant than an NBA star signed a four-year, $80 million deal with the Jazz last year.

Ingles never featured in the draft, instead grinding his way through European leagues - from Tel Aviv to Barcelona - before signing with the Jazz in 2014.

Father Tim Ingles noted his son took the road less travelled to the NBA.

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles steers his team to victory against the Houston Rockets. Picture: Eric Christian Smith/AP
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles steers his team to victory against the Houston Rockets. Picture: Eric Christian Smith/AP

"It is a difficult route he has taken. He has got there and is 30. It would make a good movie," Tim Ingles told The Advertiser.

"It is not every day you get a kid from South Australia and a place called Happy Valley taking to it very good players in the highest league.

"He did a very good apprenticeship. His goal was to play NBL, which he achieved and won with South Dragons. He won with Maccabi in Israel in 2013-14, which was massive."

Tim  lauded the way dual Olympian Joe responded to being cut by the LA Clippers after the 2014 pre-season to win a spot with Utah.

"The Clippers said they didn't want to let him go but the fact Utah knocked them out of the finals last year was poetic justice," Tim said.

Joe, in typical Australian style, isn't overawed by big reputations. The Adelaide product dishes out trash talk, even inviting NBA MVP favourite James Harden into the Jazz

The South Australian small forward and fellow Australian Dante Exum combined to shoot down the highly fancied Houston Rockets in game two of the series.

Joe Ingles heads for the basket. Picture: Bill Baptist/NBAE /Getty Images
Joe Ingles heads for the basket. Picture: Bill Baptist/NBAE /Getty Images

Overlooked for a deal with hometown NBL franchise the Adelaide 36ers, journeyman Ingles has exploded to prominence on the Jazz roster and is fast gaining cult status.

His infectious sense of humour and easygoing personality is rated the glue that binds the Jazz locker room in contrast to rival teams with superstars and commensurate egos.

"All the players speak well of Joe,"  Tim said of a son who is so unfashionable he's cool.

"He is fairly busy with his two youngsters (twins), which is a great leveller. He is a larrikin, can get in peoples's faces but has a good demeanour."