I have to say, I haven't been this wrong about a Jazz player in a long time. I had serious doubts about him when the Jazz signed him a year ago.
First of all, when a man is described by Wikipedia as having "developed his game playing streetball at New York City's legendary Rucker Park," it does not exactly make me think "Utah Jazz." I've seen Tinsley play enough in this league to know what he's like. Flashy, cocky, turnover machine, poor shooter. Hell, and that was when he was actually young and in his prime. We were signing him from D-League. He hadn't played in the NBA for a year and a half. Now, yes, he was being signed as a third-string PG, but couldn't we have signed some young, hungry prospect a la DeMarre?
Then there's the rap sheet. http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=ca
Drugs, guns, Malice at the Palace. Even tattoos. So far, everything about him sounds like CarolinaJazz' worst nightmare. I know he was 33 at this point, but that doesn't stop a whole bunch of players(Marbury, AI, Francis) from being more messed up and immature now than when they were in their 20s. I honestly thought Tinsley would get cut before the end of January.
Here we are, though, just over a year to the date he was signed. Jamaal Tinsley has turned into a valuable veteran presence on the team, and a sort of leader for the second unit of younger guys. A sort of grey eminence, if you will. He's started 4 games this year, he's had 3 games of 10+ assists(two of those off the bench, and one in the ridiculous performance against Houston when he had 11 assists in 21 minutes), he's had his option picked up, and has being nothing short of a model professional. He's collecting DNPs more than he deserves and not a word of complaint. His body language while sitting on the bench in those DNPs has been extremely positive. He's the leader of the second unit when on the floor, and the biggest cheerleader when he's on the bench. He's still got some of his old flash and swagger, but not once did I think to myself "oh Lord, get Tinsley off the floor." Occasional dribble through the legs of a clueless stiff is no problem when you're putting up 10 assists per 36 minutes. I also cannot believe, when watching him off the court like here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8Fnsg2Wp5A that this is the same guy with the above rap sheet. If I read in the Trib that Jamaal was arrested tomorrow, I don't know if I'd believe it.
If someone told me a year ago that Harris would be traded but Tinsley would be starting games for us this month, I would've called them crazy. I'm glad I was wrong about Jamaal in nearly every way. He's been everything we could ask for in a third/second string PG. I don't know how he likes SLC and whether he's actually got a home there by now, but if the Jazz decided to offer him a role within the team somewhere(scouting? conditioning?) after he retires, that would be just fine with me.