Is Joe Ingles the best shooter in the NBA? He says he is.
The objective answer: He probably isn’t. He’s averaged 44 percent from deep over the last two seasons, and while that’s excellent, Darren Collison, Kyle Korver and even Pau Gasol have slightly better averages, albeit within a percentage point.
And even those guys aren’t the ones you probably think of when you consider the best 3-point shooters in the NBA. The Warriors' trifecta of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant all have slightly lower percentages than Ingles — though still in the 40s. But all of them take many more 3s than Ingles does, and they take harder ones, too. Take Durant, for example: only 7 percent of his 3-point shots were “wide open” (with a defender at least 6 feet away), and he made 56 percent of those. For Ingles, those shots made up a steady diet: 42 percent of his 3s were wide open, and he “only” hit 47 percent without a defender around.
Believe it or not, that paragraph isn’t the first time Ingles has been compared to those guys. Even as far back as 2015, when Ingles was asked if he was the Steph Curry of Australia, Ingles had a quick answer: “Obviously," he said. "He’s the Joe Ingles of America.”
Even if all of his boasts come delivered with a wry, ironic smile, the truth of the matter is this: Ingles' on-court self-confidence has grown by leaps and bounds since his debut in the NBA. His 24-point game-high performance against Toronto on Tuesday was an indication; though on Friday night, he chose to display his playmaking side with seven assists against his hometown of Adelaide.
Ingles credited Jazz coach Quin Snyder for his confidence, on and off the floor. “To have a coach who believes in you, there’s not much more you can ask for.”
But the way his teammates talk about his impact has changed, too. Rather than imploring Ingles to take his open 3s, they’re now mentally preparing themselves to be ready for him to take over games. Friday night’s was a special case, given the Australian occasion, but Donovan Mitchell anticipated Ingles would take 45 shots.
He finished short of that, taking only four in 16 minutes on the court, but Ingles predicted he’d come up short before the game for a simple reason.
“That would mean Donovan has to pass the ball, which we all know is not happening,” Ingles joked.