clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘Headband’ Joe Ingles lobbies for Rudy Gobert as DPOY, says upcoming scrimmages crucial for Utah Jazz

Joe Ingles drives around New York Knicks guard Damyean Dotson with Rudy Gobert trailing
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) drives around New York Knicks guard Damyean Dotson (21) with Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) trailing as the Utah Jazz and the New York Knicks play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A makeshift headband, crafted to be a bandage for Joe Ingles after a collision with MarShon Brooks in Memphis on Nov. 12, 2018, left Ingles with a laceration above his left eye, became a piece of Utah Jazz lore.

Recent sightings of Ingles wearing a headband in practice have Jazz fans wondering if ‘Headband Joe’ is back to stay.

Donning a headband during media availability on Sunday, Ingles said that he started wearing it as a joke during individual workouts in Salt Lake City, before the team left for Florida. He said the chances of him wearing it in a meaningful game are slim, but did leave the door open for superstition to sway his decision.

“One day in the facility I was wearing it to be funny because Mike had his on and me and Mike were shooting on the same day,” Ingles said. “Dennis Lindsey was standing in his thing that overlooks the practice facility and started yelling stuff at me about how bad it looked so I was like well, I’m going to just keep wearing it if Dennis hates it that much. The chance I play in it is very small. But, if I play with it in a scrimmage and I play a good game I can promise you it’ll be here to stay.”

The headband, while an entertaining topic, wasn’t the only thing that Ingles discussed with reporters on Sunday.

The NBA told teams on Friday that seeding games played at Walt Disney World will not count toward end-of-year awards such as Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year. Voting for all of the year-end honors will be completed before the NBA’s season restarts on July 30.

It seems as if the general consensus in NBA circles and from pundits is that Giannis Antetokounmpo will win MVP for the second straight year and that he and Anthony Davis are the top contenders for DPOY.

When Ingles was asked if he believed that Rudy Gobert was deserving of a third consecutive DPOY honor, there seemed to be no question in his mind.

“I would hope so, I think for the last few years he’s obviously been in that top echelon,” Ingles said of his teammate. “Do I think he’s the best defender in the league? Absolutely.”

Though the eight seeding games won’t matter for the NBA’s awards, they are incredibly valuable for playoff positioning and for the players to continue ramping up for the postseason which will begin on Aug. 17.

Before the seeding games though, each team will play three exhibition games, or scrimmages. Those, Ingles said, will be incredibly valuable in evaluating where the Jazz are in their readiness and whether what they’ve been working on while in Orlando will work against the competition.

“Just getting out there and playing, getting game time, going through new stuff we’ve put in, getting on the same page with the old stuff and how we were already playing,” Ingles said of the areas the team will be focusing on in scrimmages. “We’ve played a lot here within the practice facility, but it’s always different when you’re playing against your own team, against the guys you play with every day. It’ll be nice to play someone different.”

The Jazz are set to play the Phoenix Suns on July 23, the Miami Heat on July 25 and the Brooklyn Nets on July 27. Each scrimmage will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

The exhibition games will be the first taste of basketball for fans but also invaluable for the team who hasn’t played a competitive game since the league shutdown on March 11.

“You’ll find out what’s working and what is not,” Ingles said. “Obviously it’s been talked about with Bojan (Bogdanovic) being out, figuring out different ways we can play without him. It’s the best way to figure out what’s working.”

It could also be a chance for Ingles to test out the powers of the headband, and if Jazz fans get their wish, he’ll wear it during a scrimmage, play well, and have no choice but to bring back ‘Headband Joe’ for good.