LOS ANGELES — All these years later, Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers still second-guesses the Clippers’ decision in October of 2014 to release Joe Ingles right before the start of the regular season.
Ingles had spent the preseason with the Clippers, but was let go, the last player cut from the team. The Clippers had the maximum number of players on contract and preferred not to keep a non-guaranteed player.
When asked Wednesday if he regrets that decision, Rivers answered, “all the time.”
“I said it the day we released him that this was a bad decision and that we’re going to regret it,” he said. “Unfortunately I was working for someone who said we couldn’t eat a contract. We were begging to eat one contract and they said that will never happen and we had to let him go.”
Two days later the Jazz picked him up off waivers and he’s played in 369 of 373 games for the Jazz since.
However, Rivers didn’t forsee Ingles becoming the player he has become for Utah.
“I didn’t know Joe was going to be THIS good,” he said. “So there you go. That’s life — you live with it.”
This is Ingles’ fifth season, and he’s only missed four games in that time and has played in 268 straight games, second most in the NBA behind Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns. His career averages are 7.6 ppg on 44.4 percent shooting and 40.8 percent from 3-point range.
RUDY’S DEFENSE: Rivers had plenty of nice things to say about Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the reigning NBA defensive player of the year, who may be on his way to another award this year.
“No one will ever give the defensive guy credit,” Rivers said. “It’s the same impact (as an offensive player). But analytically it’s still very hard to figure out the impact of defense and defensive players. They’re better now, but that’s the one area we’re all behind on.
“Listen, no one’s going to give the guy enough credit anyway,” he continued. “If you gave him a point for every time he had a defensive stop, he would average 40 a night, and to me no one does that. So you don’t get credit. Rudy could have a game of 5 points and 15 rebounds and people would say, well, what did he do? He really created 40 points by getting stops and they’re going the other way.”
Rivers mentioned Bill Russell, Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman as defensive players who got some credit, although not enough, for being defensive stoppers, and he believes Gobert should be in the same category.
“It’s not a glamorous thing, and it’ll never change,” he said.3 comments on this story
JAZZ NOTES: This was the first meeting between the Jazz and Clippers this year as they'll play twice more, Feb. 27 in Salt Lake and April 10 in L.A. … After completing a four-game homestand Monday night before the game in Los Angeles, the Jazz return home for another four-game homestand beginning Friday night against Cleveland. The next three home games are against Portland Monday, Denver on Wednesday and Minnesota Friday. … Then it’s off to Minnesota and Portland for a pair of road games before still another four-game homestand, this one against Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix and San Antonio, then a single road game at Golden State before the All-Star break. … Wednesday’s game was Utah’s only road game over a 19-day period between Jan. 8 and 26. … They say it never rains in Southern California, but that hasn’t been the case for the past several days as the area has been inundated as several inches of rain has fallen, including the whole time the Jazz were in town.