Utah Jazz: Joe Ingles Needs to Be in the Three-Point Contest
Utah Jazz wing Joe Ingles has been a key cog in multiple wins thanks to some sharp shooting. It’s a talent he should take to All-Star Saturday Night in February.
NBA All-Star voting officially began last week. What followed was a big push on social media by fans, players and teams to get their guys into February’s All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Utah Jazz are no different — Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert are each being pushed en masse with the #NBAVOTE hashtag on Twitter.
You can make pretty compelling cases for both players. Hayward is averaging 22.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and nearly four assists per game. Meanwhile, Gobert is leading the league in field goal percentage (69.2), total blocked shots (91) and defensive win shares (2.7).
Moreover, the Jazz currently hold the fourth-best record in the Western Conference and have established themselves as a squad worthy of All-Star representation.
That said, Hayward and Gobert aren’t the only Jazz players who should make the trip to NOLA. In fact, the Jazzman with perhaps the most clear-cut case for inclusion in the festivities at All-Star Weekend is back-up wing Joe Ingles.
Not in the actual All-Star Game, but as a competitor in the Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday Night.
— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) January 2, 2017
Ingles currently leads the NBA in three-point percentage at 48.5 percent. The league doesn’t necessarily invite the Top 8 statistical three-point shooters to All-Star Weekend, but as the top guy in the Association, Ingles has undoubtedly earned a spot.
Not only is he hitting at a higher rate than anyone in the league, but he’s also hitting when it matters most. Ingles’ long-range shooting has been crucial in sealing multiple Jazz wins. The most recent example came against the Phoenix Suns, when Ingles went 3-for-3 from distance in a hotly contested game.
There’s also the L.A. Lakers game last week, where an Ingles triple with 21.6 seconds remaining put Utah up for good.
Alas, Ingles doesn’t seem too keen on participating. When asked about the possibility recently, he expressed a desire to be with his family over the All-Star Break.
Via ESPN —
“Family is number one now with the wife and the kids, and everything else is secondary. It’s been a big year for her giving up the netball for the time being and having the kids. The first five months has been pretty full-on. I just want to take her away and relax as a family. It’s got nothing to do with trying to boycott [the event] or anything like that.”
It’s hard to argue with a man wanting to rest and be with his family after the first-half grind. However, Ingles has left the door open for participating. His only condition — that another Aussie be asked to take part as well.
Aside from Ingles, Patty Mills is currently the best three-point shooter from Australia statistically. He’s currently connecting at a 43.3-percent clip, good for 11th best in the NBA. Unfortunately, his San Antonio Spurs teammate Danny Green ranks in the Top 3 at just under 46 percent.
It seems unlikely that the league would invite Mills over Green or tap two Spurs for the contest.
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In any event, Ingles should be a shoe-in for an invitation at the very least. He’s the league-leader, a clutch performer and an engaging personality; just the kind of player the NBA should want at All-Star Weekend. Whether or not he’s willing to accept that invitation is on Ingles.
Jazz fans likely have pretty clear feelings about it — Joe Ingles needs to be in the Three-Point Contest.