Tinsley Picked First in NBA D-League Draft
Jamaal Tinsley is determined to make an NBA comeback this season, even if means carving his own path back to the league. The eight-year veteran, who played with the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies, entered the D-League draft and was selected with the number one overall pick on Thursday.
The Los Angeles D-Fenders made Tinsley the top pick over other former NBA players such as Alando Tucker and Gabe Pruitt. In Los Angeles, the 33-year-old Tinsley will be playing for former NBA head coach Eric Musselman.
“I’m going to bring it day in and day out, work hard every day in practice and compete at a high level,” Tinsley told HOOPSWORLD. “I want to win games and win a championship.”
Unlike other players who have signed overseas in an effort to resume their NBA careers, Tinsley chose the D-League because it allows him to stay in the United States and be closer to his family. It will also provide him with more exposure, whereas signing abroad could cause him to be out of sight, out of mind.
“There were a few overseas offers, but being close to my family was essential,” Tinsley said. “No matter what level I’m at, I can still get better. It’s a humbling experience for me and I’m looking forward to it.”
It’s no secret that the D-League pays significantly less than international teams. D-League players make between $12,000 and $25,000 per season, which is why Tinsley insists this isn’t about getting paid. He made $39,960,706 throughout the course of his NBA career and has managed his money well.
“It’s not about the money,” Tinsley said. “This is about my love of the game.”
He wants to return to the NBA and feels this is the best route. When the lockout ends, teams will be looking for veteran players who can step in and contribute right away. If he proves himself during these D-League games, an NBA team may feel inclined to take a chance on Tinsley, who averaged 9.8 points, 6.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds with the Pacers and Grizzlies.
“My leadership ability, work ethic and winning attitude can still help an NBA team,” Tinsley said. “If an opportunity for a call-up comes, I’ll be ready for it.”
For the past six months, Tinsley has been on a strenuous, two-a-day workout plan. He weighs 185 lbs. now, which is ten pounds lighter than the weight he was listed at throughout his NBA career.
After working out individually for months, Tinsley wanted to test himself against other NBA players so he played in Impact Basketball’s Competitive Training Series last month. Tinsley performed well in Las Vegas, averaging 15 points and 5.5 assists against top competition.
“I got a chance to play with veteran guys and up-and-coming stars like John Wall and Stephen Curry,” Tinsley said. “The fans came out every day to support us and it was just a beautiful thing.”
The D-Fenders will be a contender entering this season, and adding Tinsley and Musselman will certainly make them worth watching.
“Our goal all along with the first overall pick was to take the player who we felt gave the D-Fenders the best chance of winning right now,” Musselman said in a release. “In this case, we were able to do just that with the selection of Jamaal. The guard position was a point of emphasis for us entering the draft, and Jamaal’s extensive experience in the backcourt provides the D-Fenders with a great foundation as we work towards our ultimate goal of winning a D-League Championship.”
Tinsley will have every opportunity to succeed in Los Angeles, and this could be just what he needs to jumpstart his career.