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When he was asked the question this week, Joe Ingles didn't hesitate with his answer. Does the Utah Jazz forward have any desire to be in the 3-point contest at all-star weekend?
"They can put someone else in," he said. "I'll happily watch from the sidelines."
That's exactly why Ingles finds himself atop the list of the NBA's most accurate 3-point shooters.
A third of the way through the season, Ingles is knocking down a league-leading 47.7 percent of his long bombs. That's better than any of the contestants in last year's 3-point shootout: Marco Belinelli (45.3), Kyle Korver (41.1), J.J. Redick (44.9), Stephen Curry (39.9 percent), Klay Thompson (38 percent), Wesley Matthews (37.3 percent) and James Harden (34.8 percent).
Ingles, of course, isn't a volume shooter like most of the stars on that list. The reserve Jazzman plays 19 minutes a game and hoists up roughly three triples in that time. He has taken a total of 86 shots from behind the arc. Curry, the league's preeminent deep threat and leader in 3-point makes, has hit on 120 of his 301 attempts.
But Ingles' approach requires its own expertise.
"He doesn't shoot nine threes a game. He shoots three," said Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger, who tried to lure Ingles to Memphis in 2013. "… and it's hard when you're not getting up nine balls to get in a rhythm with a whole bunch of shots. I really respect that."
Ingles entered this season as a 37-percent shooter from deep over his first two NBA seasons. But in his third year with the Jazz, the Australian wing has found his range.
"He's more aggressive," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "He's shooting the ball more quickly, but more on time. There isn't a hesitation. I think that's improved his confidence. He knows he's shooting it. Don't think about it."
Ingles has added to his long-ball arsenal. The 27-year-old Aussie relied on catch-and-shoot opportunities, especially from the corners, last season. This year, Ingles has been more willing to pull up off the dribble and he is shooting a scorching 32-of-64 from above the break.
Ingles attributes some of his success to his conditioning and an intensive offseason spent with the Australian national team.
"Working one-on-one all summer is great, but there's obviously nothing like five-on-five and getting up and down the court," he said.
But Ingles said the biggest change has been in his head.
"Two years ago, I think everyone saw how much I would give up open looks to try to get better looks," he said, "and sometimes that doesn't work."
Ingles teammate and friend Gordon Hayward knows Ingles is rarely short on confidence, but that can be a different story on the court.
"It's being confident in yourself out there to make plays and make mistakes," Hayward said. "I think it's tough when you're in a reserve role sometimes, because you feel like if you make a mistake you might come out of the game. That's one of the toughest things to do. If you can get over that and just play freely out there, that's when you can be at your best."
That's where Ingles says he is now, settled in his role, and locked in from deep.
"I've got the confidence to shoot it," he said. "I probably haven't played this confident in a long time, to be honest."
Jazz vs. Lakers
P At Staples Center
Tipoff • Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. MST
TV • ROOT
Radio • 1280 AM, 97.5 FM
About the Jazz • Have struggled with quick guards over the past month, including giving up 38 points to Lakers guard Lou Williams in early December. … Shooting guard Rodney Hood is expected to play after being hit hard by a flu bug last week. … Have beaten the Lakers twice already this season.
About the Lakers • Timofey Mozgov scored 19 points to help the Lakers beat the Clippers on Christmas day. … Point guard D'Angelo Russell has averaged 13.3 points in his first eight games back from a knee injury. … Forward Larry Nance is expected to miss a month with a bone bruise in his left knee.