Joe to make most of second chance
JOSH SPASARO IN LOS ANGELES
BASKETBALL: Los Angeles Clippers signing Joe Ingles believes five tough seasons in Europe has him primed to excel in the NBA this season - even if his on-court time will be limited.
Australian Ingles will have star big men Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin and Glen Davis above him in the pecking order at the Clippers.
But the former Melbourne South Dragons star believes the grind of playing in Europe has him in top mental and physical shape.
The 27-year-old helped Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv to a Euroleague championship before getting his long-awaited shot in the US.
That was in his fifth season in Europe, after failing to crack a spot at Golden State, playing in its Summer League teams in 2009 and 2010.
"It's hard (in Europe). It's a long year. They don't play as many games but in terms of practice it's pretty full-on," he said.
"It was definitely helpful.
"When I got invited to training at the Warriors I didn't think I was ready.
"That was why I decided to go to Europe.
"I might have stayed a bit longer than I originally thought, but at the end of the day it was what I needed and I don't regret it at all.
"I really wanted to win that (Euroleague) title. It was probably one of the best teams in terms of togetherness that I've ever been on.
"I'm happy to be here now."
Ingles said he had come a long way since first trying his hand at the NBA with the Warriors.
"Maybe if I got a chance it could have been a quicker process," he said.
"I wasn't ready, so I got a chance to go to Europe and going to Barcelona (before Tel-Aviv) was probably the best thing that happened for me."
Ingles is also enjoying the differences in his comfort away from the court, and the way his teammates interpret his laidback Aussie lifestyle.
"In Europe you share a room with a single bed each (on the road). It could get a bit awkward," he said.
"Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre (Jordan) like to mimic everything I say.
"I sent them a video of two boxing kangaroos and I've heard every bad Aussie joke."
Ingles might not get stacks of game time this season, but he is clear on his role.
"They're not looking for someone to come in and make the big shots or play 40 minutes," he said.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers has been impressed with Ingles' hard-working ethic.
"He's never going to blow you away, he's never going to do any 360 dunks or anything like that," he said.
"But he just has an amazing feel for the game."