SALT LAKE CITY — Joe Ingles wants a break. And he’s planning on taking one.
On Tuesday, the Yahoo Sports staff started an internet petition to get Ingles into the Skills Challenge during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend next month in Charlotte.
“Joe Ingles is a gem and deserves to be recognized as the skillful NBA player that he is,” Yahoo wrote. “Sign this petition and help us get this man into the Skills Challenge portion of NBA All-Star Weekend 2019.”
Ingles’ response? Hard pass.
“You know exactly what my thoughts are on that,” Ingles said with a laugh. “You know what my answer is going to be: I’m going on vacation.”
And for Ingles, Charlotte doesn’t quite fit the bill for a relaxing week off.
“I don't know who started, why they started it, they should have known that,” Ingles said. “I’m having some time off.”
He's felt that added attention on the court, too. Teams are scouting him more and playing him differently than in previous seasons — something he said he’s handled both “good and bad.”
“I have played well at times, played horribly at times,” Ingles said. “I think just trying to adjust. Some games they haven’t left me, some games they have played me the same way as past seasons.”
Ingles had to adjust to not having nearly as much free space while shooting. Teams are more focused on not leaving him and that can partially explain why he’s shooting just 36 percent from 3-point range this season; down from the 44 percent he hit over the previous two seasons.
Ingles has always been more than just a shooter, though. And with teams crowding him on the perimeter, his full skill set has been more consistently on display this season.
He’s had to use his driving ability more — using it to not only get buckets for himself at the rim but to get easy shots for his teammates. And that's been even more highlighted over the last two weeks as he has been forced to play more of a point-forward role with Utah’s recent string of injuries to its point guards.
“He’s one of the best playmakers in the league as far as finding guys on passes,” Derrick Favors said. “He’s just gotten better every year.”
And the league has noticed, too — not that Ingles cares.
“I don't really care what other teams think of me, to be honest,” Ingles said. “As long as my teammates and my coaching staff think I’m doing the right thing.”
And come All-Star break, the right thing will be him taking a vacation.
“I’m going to go spend time with my kids and my wife and that’s it,” Ingles said.