How has the amazing play of the backup changed your view of the lineup after JO and Jax, and perhaps eventually Ronnie return?
Firstly, I think we can safely lay aside all doubt that Tins is the starter for as long as he wants the job. I think most everyone had come round to that opinion by the end of last year, but this most recent outburst has outperformed even the sunniest of expectations. And one note about this, Tinsley's skills are not really related to his speed (he isn't very fast) or size and strength. Which seems to me to indicate that if he manages to stay healthy, he could truly have a long, long career in this league. Again, alla Mark Jackson.
It seems to me that everyone agrees that Freddie has also silenced all doubters (Kareem Rush anyone?) over the last few games. The knock on him was that he was athletic but too small and couldn't shoot. Well, turns out he can shoot, he just needed the confidence, and, frankly, the opportunity to get enough shots to get in the groove. I think at this point relegating him to 3rd string minutes, even if we had everyone back, would be a monumental waste of talent.
Harrison & Jones. It seems to me that both have proven that they can contribute, both seem to have bright futures, and neither are ready to play major minutes on a contending team. I think getting them big minutes with the starters out and using them consistantly when they return will help their development. On the other hand, they're not quite ready to be on the line in crunch time. But give them a couple of years, and...
Croshere needs to be starting. He's been scoring everywhere and hussling all over the court. It's strange, but it really does seem the more minutes he plays, the better he does. As long as we keep him guarding slower players, he does an admirable job.
Pollard goes back to being the guy that can buy you some quality minutes when you need them. If his back can hold up.
Bender. Another HUGE missed opportunity. But you know what? He will get more chances. With Artest gone for now and Reggie not really able to man major minutes, he will play again.
So where does this leave us?
I think when JO and Reggie return, they will take over right where they left off. The front court is filled out with Croshere starting and Foster and Harrison getting most of the rest of the minutes. Pollard heals and takes over when called on.
The big remaining question this season is how to fill out the SG/SF rotation. I think at this point, we assume that Reggie still starts, and Jax slides over to starts at SF. He's 6-8, and won't have any trouble. This leave plenty of time for Freddie as the primary backup SG taking most of the minutes. It also give either Jones or Bender time at SF.
When Reg retires and Artest (if Artest) returns, I think it will be interesting to watch to see if it's Jax or Freddie who will emerge as the starting SG.
I'm also curious to see if one of these guys hussling now is playing himself in a
1) starting position or 2) trade bait.