This is wrong on so many levels; according to multiple outlets the Memphis Grizzlies have signed Jamaal Tinsley to a one year deal. The negotiations were completed prior to tonight's game, as the veteran guard, oftentimes considered to be more than a bit cancerous, was actually on the roster but inactive during the win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tinsley should practice with the team starting tomorrow.
Signing Tinsley will likely be perceived both as an admission that former superstar Allen Iverson isn't returning to the team in the near future -- if Tinsley signs it would almost certainly indicate that retirement is on A.I.'s mind -- and an indictment of young point guard Mike Conley. Conley has not run the offense efficiently this season, and signing Tinsley could kick him from his starting role.
Get over the jump for an evaluation of the move.
Jamaal Tinsley is a pass-first point guard of the truest sort. Even when feuding with teammates and coaches he routinely drops double-doubles. His passing and ball-handling are skills that the Grizzlies definitely require. In addition he was a better defender than either Conley or Marcus Williams; whether he has lost a step or not, a la Jason Kidd, is yet to be seen. The Tinsley Pacer's fans used to hate fits in this Grizzlies unit better than Mike Conley, and Conley probably fits nicely commanding the second unit where he could shoulder the scoring load.
But at the end of the day, we're still talking about the Jamaal Tinsley who was hated by the Pacers organization for his off the court behavior and demeanor. "Mel Mel Tha Abuser" was so incorrigible that he was eventually banned from all team activities while in the last season of his contract in Indiana. Though teams early in his career have been successful, he is often considered a "cancerous" player -- not unlike Zach Randolph.
Honestly this signing probably won't end too well, though there is room for hope. Expectations need to be held low, unike with Iverson, because Tinsley's skills almost certainly aren't what they used to be. That being said I've been very critical of the Grizzlies roster and especially their guard play, so it's hard to openly decry the signing. His command of the role of a "true point" will definitely help keep the offense from breaking down into a free-for-all like it has in recent blowouts.
Are there better options out there then Tinsley? Yes. Are there easier options, or options in free agency? No. The Grizzlies have to do something, and it might as well be Jamaal Tinsley. It seems risky, but there's nothing to risk if you have nothing to lose.
Just, please, keep Zach and him away from the strip-clubs.