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Report: Jazz tell team they’re benching Mike Conley, instead bench Joe Ingles

Jazz guard Mike Conley and forward Joe Ingles

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 3: Mike Conley #10 and Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz share a conversation during a game against the LA Clippers on November 3, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Jazz have three locked starters: Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic.

That leaves two starting spots for: Mike Conley, Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale.

Conley and Ingles are higher-paid and more experienced than O’Neale. So, a natural pecking order favors Conley and Ingles. But Conley and Ingles just haven’t meshed together. O’Neale’s defense and limited offensive game better complement the other Utah starters.

Here are the Jazz’s offensive/defensive/net ratings with Gobert, Mitchell and Bogdanovic on the court with:

  • Ingles and O’Neale: 118.3/102.0/+16.4 (537 minutes)
  • Conley and O’Neale: 114.3/100.2/+14.1 (281 minutes)
  • Conley and Ingles: 103.0/109.0/-6.0 (216 minutes)

So, what will Utah do?

Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic:

After telling players that they were making a starting lineup change, removing Mike Conley Jr. from the starting five, the Utah Jazz have now decided to instead remove Joe Ingles from the starting lineup beginning with Wednesday night’s game against Boston, league sources tell The Athletic.

The team was informed during shootaround on Wednesday that Conley would be removed from the starting lineup and Royce O’Neal would be put in his place, according to league sources. Later, the team was informed that it would be Joe Ingles who would be removed from the starting lineup instead, sources say.

There’s A LOT of potential for this situation to be ugly. How do the Jazz tell everyone Conley would go to the bench then not follow through?

Maybe Ingles volunteered for a reserve role out of kindness for Conley, a respected veteran. Conley has underwhelmed in Utah, and it’s hard to see the Jazz meeting their goals if he doesn’t get on track.

But Ingles also struggled coming off the bench earlier in the season. He took off only after becoming a starter – mainly with Conley out injured.

There was no easy answer for Utah here. But if politics clouded the choice, there’s even more room for destructive disruption.