The warmup pants go first, flying through the air and into the arms of a waiting ball boy. Next comes a towel and then a jacket, launched from somewhere in the huddle of players on the sideline. It is the first timeout of the game, midway through the first quarter, and Joe Ingles emerges from the crowd, marches toward the scorer’s table, and checks in for the first time that night.
After spending the last three seasons as a regular starter for the Utah Jazz, Ingles has moved back to the bench, embracing his role as the team’s sixth man. The veteran wing says his new job is much like his old one, at least on the surface. He still arrives at the arena at the same time, still shoots the same shots during warmups, still drinks the same coffee.
“The only thing different for me is that I’m not out there at the tip,” Ingles says.
That, however, doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Even Ingles will admit there are differences between starting and coming off the bench—differences he is still adjusting to early on in this season.
“There’s definitely a preparation component,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “He’s used to hearing his name announced and starting” and playing straightaway.
So Snyder has intentionally tried to get Ingles into the game at the same time, usually the first timeout of the quarter so that he can standardize his new pregame routine.