Joe Ingles is nearing the end of an historic season for the Utah Jazz. Back on March 17th, Joe made his 179th 3 pointer of the season, breaking a single-season record for the franchise. He did this in only the 70th game of the season, and has pushed that record to 195 as of today.
This got me thinking, where does Joe rank among the greatest shooters in the organization’s history?
Full disclosure: I’m a John Stockton homer. He’s the GOAT. End of story. So I immediately rejected the thought that Joe could ever reach the shooting level of the greatest PG that ever PG’d. And Hornaceck? That guy was the king of 50% from the field, 40% from 3, and (nearly) 90% from the line for years. Joe is still light years away from those 2 right?
It’s actually closer than you might think. Now, part of the reason that Ingles broke Utah’s 3 point record is that gameplay in the NBA has changed. But don’t let that make you undervalue just how well Joe is jingling this year. The NBA values the 3 point shot more than ever, and Joe embraced that by shooting better than nearly anyone in the league. He is currently in 4th for 3PT% on the season at 44.4%. That’s better than Andre Roberson and Mason Plumlee shoot from the free throw line. The only three in front of Joe for 3PT% are Darren Collison, Reggie Bullock, and Klay Thompson. The first two aren’t even in the top 50 for 3 point makes this season (Thompson #8, Ingles #10, Bullock #64, Collison #115).
This is truly some Kyle Korver and Ray Allen level shooting. And I’m not just saying that as a Jazz fan. I’m saying that as fact. Ingles just hasn’t gotten the credit or attention for it yet.
So Joe keeps up with the best of them in the current NBA, But what about the legends in the yesteryears of the Utah Jazz? I searched Basketball Reference for Utah Jazz players with the following criteria over a season:
- At least 80 3’s made
- 40% from 3
- true shooting percentage of at least 60%
Sure enough Joe joins an incredibly exclusive club. Them boys can shoot! Oh and by the way, Joe’s exact (updated) numbers of >190 3’s, >44.1% from 3, and >.621 TS% has been done only 5 other times in NBA history.
But Joe isn’t finished. If anything he’s just begun. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe accomplished this every season of his new contract. This means he could reach at least 5 such seasons for Utah.
I know someone might interject and say that there’s no guarantee he remains a member of the Jazz for the rest of his career. But, I mean, come on. We’re talking about international treasure Joe Ingles right now. He was, is, and forever will be Utah Jazz.
For clarification, I am not insinuating that Joe Ingles is a better basketball player than John Stockton or Jeff Hornacek. (That 94-95 season of Stockton’s, for example? Eye ball emoji.) What I am saying, is that he might go down as one of, if not the best shooter in Utah Jazz history when all is said and done. He may be 30 years old already, but his knockdown shooting has only just begun. He’s got several more years of terrorizing opponents with his shooting as well as his jawing. Don’t believe me? Just ask Deandre Jordan.
Joe Ingles waited for DeAndre to get close, looked in his eyes, wet a 3 in his face, looked back at him. MUCHO DISRESPECTFUL pic.twitter.com/V0oCNoWzJF— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) April 22, 2017
He’s not just a shooter either. Slo Mo Joe is also averaging career highs of 4.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game this year. And don’t forget about his top 10 defensive rating among small forwards either. (Dennis Lindsey actually slots him in as a top 10 SF overall)
It’s been a pretty special season for the Australian, and we can only hope that this success continues. To think that his Jazz journey began after being cut by the Clippers with his wife mid-flight en route to watch his NBA debut makes it that much more enjoyable. That experience, however, even had Ingles wondering for the first time if he just wasn’t good enough to play in the league and if he should quit trying.
But a certain Dennis Lindsey gave him a second chance. From a podcast Ingles did with Zach Lowe, he said, “I was like, ‘This is the last chance... Whatever I’ve got to do, I’m staying on this team... I think it was me and two other guys who came in together, I was like, bad luck for the other two dudes, because this is mine, I’m taking this spot.”
Here we are 4 years later, and Joe has gone from one of the 2 lowest paid players in the game, to one of its premier shooters. When Joe signed his extension in the offseason, he said he couldn’t think of a better place to come back to. We couldn’t think of a better place for you to be and we look forward to your continued movement up the list of all-time Jazz greats!