Years and years ago, Jamaal Tinsley was a well-respected man about town player in the NBA. He had a huge ESPN Magazine profile before he got to the league, was a second team NCAA All-American, then a first round draft pick and he started playoff games for a bunch of very good Indiana Pacers teams.

That seems like a long time ago, as Tinsley’s career took a pretty severe nosedive in the latter part of the 2000s. Injuries limited him in a few seasons, then he was told by the Pacers that he couldn’t play for them, causing him to miss the entirety of the 2008-09 campaign. Finally, Mel-Mel was salvaged by the Grizzlies where he played 38 games during 2009-10 before sitting out all of last year because nobody wanted him. Bit of a change from the early part of the decade.

Now, he’s trying to make it back to the NBA, which isn’t surprising since that’s what all the most maligned guards of the Aughts are doing these days. However, he’s going about things a slightly different way. From Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears:

Jamaal Tinsley hopes to return to the NBA, and he wants to use the Development League to help his efforts.

Tinsley has sent in the needed paperwork to enter Thursday’s NBA Development League draft, sources told Yahoo! Sports. [...] The deadline to enter the D-League draft is Tuesday.

Hey, it worked for Antonio Daniels. He was a second round NBDL pick in the 2010 draft and made it back for four games with the 76ers last season, so at least there is some precedent for a once-good guard to drop down to the D-League in a bid to make it back to the majors. These sorts of things are always a bit easier for the second guy to try it.

That being said, coaches liked Antonio Daniels a lot more than they ever liked Jamaal Tinsley. He was never told to stay away from a team that refused to move him. He was never arrested or had other legal issues that might not have resulted in charges but were still poorly-timed incidents. Antonio Daniels is exactly the kind of guy coaches love to keep around as a hard-working, veteran presence who will just keep the peace and play basketball. Maybe Jamaal Tinsley can be that, but he’s going to have a tough time convincing some executive that their image of him is wrong. Teams aren’t always quick to forgive non-franchise players.

But who knows? Maybe this’ll work out and Jamaal Tinsley will make it back to the NBA as a third-string point guard. At the very least, if he gets picked in the D-League draft, he’ll be playing in some actual competitive basketball games, which is more than a lot of NBA players can say. Seems like a good place to start.