Jamaal Tinsley hasn't played in the NBA since April 4, 2010, during an uneventful stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. After sitting out all of last season, though, the talented point guard is currently working his way back into the minds of NBA decision makers while playing under Eric Musselman for the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
The D-Fenders, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers, have won two of their first three games with Tinsley at the helm of the offense. The former starting point guard for the Indiana Pacers dished 13 assists in Monday night's blowout victory over the Reno Bighorns in just 26 minutes of playing time.
"Jamaal came into camp in great physical condition," Musselman told Ridiculous Upside after Monday night's game. "Players love playing with him and he's like having a coach on the floor ... I've loved coaching him."
The 135-103 victory was the best statistical game for the NBA veteran, at least from a point guard perspective, as his assist numbers were at a season high while his turnovers (just three) were a season-low. As his teammates get more familiar with his style of play and are able to catch and convert on more of his thread-the-needle passes, those numbers will probably become more impressive.
The 33-year-old point guard probably won't be in Los Angeles for long, however, or at not least with the D-Fenders. Tinsley has shown that his skill level is above that of the average D-League player as he sees the court well, spectacularly paces the offense and looks to be in great shape as he attempts his NBA comeback.
"Jamaal has great leadership and he's been tremendous with our young players," Musselman said. "He is so unselfish -- and his unselishness is contagious. He's like a great quarterback ... he just has an unbelievable understanding of who and when to get shots for our guys."
With NBA training camps opening on Dec. 9, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the veteran earn at least a temporary call-up to show that he still has what it takes. If his attitude isn't going to be a problem -- and since it hasn't been so far in the D-League, one would think he'll just fine in the NBA -- teams could do much worse when searching the free agent crop for a veteran point guard.