Three years ago, when news surfaced that the Utah Jazz had interest in veteran point guard Jamaal Tinsley, many Jazz fans were dubious. He had not been in the NBA in a year and had only logged 38 NBA games over a span of three seasons. Moreover, he had some off-court issues over the years that brought his character into question. When the two sides agreed on a pact, it was a very underwhelming move that seemed risky for a guy who would most likely anchor the end of the bench. I was one of the detractors of the move.
Well, I was wrong.
While he latest stint was very hard to stomach (1.1 PPG on 20% FGs and 1-15 3s), 2.9 APG, 1.4 RPG in 13.8 mpg, not to mention a 2.3 PER and .225 TS%. .225!), Tinsley proved me wrong overall. He was a solid pick-up especially with his minimal contract. His shooting was horrible, true. But at times, he was the best functioning point guard on Utah’s roster. Given the injury issues Devin Harris and Mo Williams experienced, he was pressed into starting duties, and while he did not wow anyone, he ran the offense well and got those around him involved. His turnover rate was a concern, but he maintained a high AST% even in his limited time this season. Younger point guards were troublesome for him to guard, but Tinsley was able to be decent defensively. Plus, he did things like this:
Moreover, Tinsley was a consummate professional for the Jazz. He conducted himself very well on and off the court. He could often be found talking to his younger teammates as they came off the court or during timeouts, giving them pointers. Tinsley also was good with Jazz fans, interacting with them via Twitter. It is not hard to imagine him in a future coaching capacity, as least in an assistant role. He understands the game and could be a good teacher to the next generation of players.
Chances are we may have seen the last of Tinsley on the court. Whatever he does and wherever he goes, Jazz fans hope the best for a player who gave what he could to the team the past three years. After all, once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman.