Player: Jamaal Tinsley
Stats: 11.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 8.4 apg
Stats/36: 12.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 9.1 apg
How did he surprise?
Everything about Jamaal Tinsley's game and current existence on the Pacers roster is complicated. When the mind and body are right, his game has always been a pleasure to watch. Considering the way Jamaal's season ended and his current status on the team, it is easy to forget the positive contributions he made early in the year.
As he began the season with a fresh start and mental outlook under Jim O'Brien, it appeared as though Tins was ready to flourish. He ran the team and ran it well. When big buckets were needed late in games, Tins stepped up to try and make the plays down the stretch. He led the way to several early-season W's and was even seen smiling quite often. I know I was excited about his play.
How did he disappoint?
The smiles didn't last much past December, though, as nagging injuries began creeping up and his game started to stray away from Jim O'Brien's intended style. Maybe his early success emboldened him to try and do too much, but whatever the case, it all came to a head at Phoenix in early January when the Pacers turned what appeared to be an impressive road win into a horrifying late-game collapse that ended in an overtime loss.
When the game started slipping down the drain, Tinsley tried to stop it all by himself, literally. He took every shot except for a rebound, put-back attempt over the final of regulation and ALL of the overtime. Oh, and he couldn't score. Even I was a little nuts after this one.
From that point on, JT's mind was never right again and before long, injuries forced him to shut it down for the year. Behind closed doors JOB and JT had a falling out of some sort and suffice it to say were no longer on the same page. Tinsley finished the season only playing 39 games with his future on the team in doubt.
All indications point to the Pacers moving forward without Tinsley. Jim O'Brien has openly mentioned that he can't rely on Tinsley to lead the team at PG. Most draft speculation revolves around the available point guards, unless of course, the Pacers trade for another point guard. One thing is for sure, Tinsley is no longer the answer at point guard for the Pacers. How the situation is dealt with won't be known until after the draft but I fully expect this won't be my last post to include the words ‘dealt' and ‘Tinsley' together.