SALT LAKE CITY — Immediately following Joe Ingles’ masterful birthday performance on Tuesday, where he drained 24 points against the Toronto Raptors, he welcomed the media to his locker.
“After the first few (shots) didn’t go in, was it hard to maintain that confidence to keep shooting?” a local reporter asked.
“No. I’m the best shooter in the league,” the newly turned 31-year-old Ingles shot back. “That’s a silly question."
Although Ingles has been known for his snarky humor, the Jazz sharpshooter wasn’t kidding when he made the bold claim.
Ahead of Friday’s preseason game against his hometown Adelaide 36ers of Australia, Ingles doubled down on his initial statement.
“Oh, I am. Yeah, why wouldn’t I?” Ingles responded, when asked if he feels he’s the best. “The numbers I’ve shot, the percentages, they obviously are what they are and people are going to dissect everything but, I honestly feel like they’re all going to go in when I shoot the ball.
“When I feel like it’s my shot within the flow of the offense and getting in any rhythm, I feel like I should make every one of them,” he continued. “That’s why it (ticks) me off in practice when I miss open shots because I feel like I should make them.”
During his preseason debut against Toronto, Ingles went 5-for-11 from beyond the arc. He also ranked fourth in 3-point percentage at 44 percent last season, while finishing third in corner treys with 74. His effective field goal percentage of 63.4 percent on shots from outside the paint ranked second behind Anthony Tolliver among players who attempted at least 200 shots, according to NBA Advanced Statistics.
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said the biggest difference in his output is having the confidence to still put up attempts after a couple misses.
“We’ve been encouraging him to be more and more aggressive from the 3-point line,” Snyder said after the Toronto preseason win. “It was actually in some ways good that he missed a couple early.
“A couple years ago, he wouldn’t have shut it down, but he wouldn’t have stayed quite as aggressive, so the fact that he missed some early and then kept shooting and then found the bucket.”2 comments on this story
Ingles credits Snyder and the Jazz coaching staff for that newfound confidence. He averaged a career-best 11.5 points last season while starting 81 of 82 games. He’s come a long way from the player waived by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. He’s emerged as a legitimate offensive threat in a deep Western Conference and he knows it.
“(Coach Quin Snyder) said it yesterday in film, where he basically asked the group if they get mad if I shoot after I miss shots and just to hear that and then obviously, the last couple years to make shots and to make them in big games it obviously just helps,” Ingles said. “But to have a coach that believes in you is not much more than you can ask for.”