D-Fenders tab Jamaal Tinsley as D-League's top pick

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
10:50
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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For reasons requiring little explanation, we (meaning those working in and observing the pro hoops universe) have been shorted our normal quotient of genuinely interesting basketball stories.

Quietly, one has appeared on the landscape.

Thursday, with the first pick in this year's D-League draft, the L.A. D-Fenders, back after a one-year hiatus, selected former Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley. The same Jamaal Tinsley who back in the mid-oughts was seen as a potential rising star in the league. Instead his career was derailed by injury issues, off court problems, temperament questions, and clashes with management serious enough Indiana chose to pay Tinsley to stay away during the 2008-09 season.

He last played for Memphis during the '09-'10 campaign, suiting up in 38 games and delivering relatively little on the floor.

Putting aside for a moment any questions of attitude -- dropping out of the league being forced to work your way back through the NBDL is enough to change a person's perspective-- don't rush to add Tinsley's name to L.A.'s point guard depth chart. He faces very long odds in his quest to return to the Association, whether with the Lakers or any other team. Tinsley turns 34 in February, and has played a grand total of 77 games since '07-'08. He has always been a terrible outside shooter (a terrible shooter from anywhere, really, only twice in his eight year career cracking 41 percent from the floor) so he won't stretch a defense. Nor does Tinsley attack the basket with impunity, earning trips to the line.

So while he's certainly been a productive player at points during he during his career, he's also always been flawed. In the NBA, age and inactivity tend not to accentuate the positive. Whether Tinsley has seen the light, so to speak, in how he approaches his work I have no idea. The reality is it may not matter.

America loves a comeback story, though, and this would certainly be a good one if Tinsley can pull it off.

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