Profiles In Profiling: Tarence Kinsey

First, the daily roundup: Andy V has officially opted out of his deal and will become an unrestricted free agent. Meanwhile, the Cavs’ first target in the free agency market seems to be Charlie Villanueva. Hmm. Three quick hits:

1. Anderson Varejao was an absolutely crucial part of the Cavaliers’ team for the previous couple of seasons. He might have been the most consistently important defensive player on the team, fit wonderfully with LeBron and Z, and pressured the rim offensively. Losing him would leave a much bigger hole than his stats would suggest.

2. There just isn’t a way that Anderson Varejao and Shaquille O’Neal can be effective offensively playing in the same lineup.

3. Shaq gives the Cavs some leverage, Charlie V would give more, and Anderson is much more valuable to the Cavs than he would be to any other team. The Cavs were able to get an amazing deal on Delonte West after the Mo Williams trade last season by using their leverage. Ferry has stood toe-to-toe with Anderson before, and will probably attempt to do the same this off-season.

But Dan Fegan is good at his job, and does not want to be made to look weak by giving in after a high-profile standoff again. Look at Fegan’s client list this season-other than Varejao, which of those players would you say is getting paid anywhere near market value? Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy, Erick Dampier, and Nene are going to make a combined $50 million next year. This is going to be an absolute war.

But let’s try to forget about that unhappy business, because this is the time of the off-season where I get to talk about how much I love Tarence Kinsey. (Except for the DUI)

-Tarence Kinsey is awesome. There’s just no getting around it.

-Tarence Kinsey is one of three players on the Cavs last year who could best be described as “swingmen,” or players who are capable of playing both the shooting guard and the small forward position. (LeBron would technically qualify as well.)

-Here’s the thing about quality swingmen: absolutely every team in the NBA has one, and most have two. Swingmen don’t have to be as insanely skilled as point guards/combo guards or as ludicrously big as big men to be successful in the NBA, so the talent pool for swingmen is relatively large. Most NBA teams can count on their swingmen to do a variety of things, as they’re generally the most athletic guys on the floor; they defend the other team’s best wing players, make open shots, can score in isolation, run the floor, make cuts, do lots of the things that hold teams’ systems together.

-Now, I do realize that the Cavs have LeBron and it is, on one level, completely ridiculous to complain about this, but it is a little bit frustrating how comically inept the Cavs have been at finding a quality swingman in the LeBron era.

-A lot of this is explainable; obviously, the Cavs have always had more pressing needs than the 3 position, and for a long time the 2 was effectively clogged up by Larry Hughes’ reign of misery and evil. And the one time the Cavs attempted to draft a swingman, they got Luke Jackson.

-And so it was that the guys playing the role of “swingman” for this year’s Cavalier squad ended up being Wally Z and Sasha Pavlovic, two guys who I described in my most rhapsodic Kinsey post of the year as “an American who plays like a bad Euro and a Euro who plays like a bad American.”

-Wally had good shooting stretches over the course of the season, but was never the consistent threat from outside he was in his prior NBA stops. And frankly, Wally did not bring a ton to the table other than shooting. Likewise, Pavlovic would occasionally look like an athletic slasher who could knock down threes, but just as often he would lose his shot and play completely lost on both ends.

-So basically, why Tarence Kinsey was only on the court for 7% of the time this season is a complete and total mystery to me.

-The first thing to note about Tarence Kinsey is that he never got a real chance. Almost exactly half of Kinsey’s limited minutes came in garbage-time lineups of Kinsey with some combination Boobie Gibson, Wally Z, Sasha Pavlovic, JJ Hickson, or Darnell Jackson as the other four players. For this reason, his +/- numbers have to be rendered completely irrelevant. Even his exorbitantly high opponent PER of 22 can be partially chalked up to the complete lack of defensive help provided by the frontcourt of Wally/JJ/Darnell.

-Kinsey was effective in the extremely rare stretches he played shooting guard alongside James at small forward and two bigs, and he only played 5 minutes this season at small forward with James playing the 4.

-When asked to describe Tarence Kinsey, which actually happens less frequently than you’d think, I generally respond that Kinsey is a slightly worse version of what Larry Hughes was supposed to be when the Cavaliers signed him. He’s athletic, he’s a slasher, he contributes on both ends without needing the ball, and he’s always trying to get the ball moving towards the opposing basket.

-First off; Kinsey is probably the most athletic perimeter player the Cavs have gotten in the LeBron era since LeBron himself. (Hughes had lost a step even before the crippling series of injuries that made his tenure with the Cavs wholly ineffective.) It’s not just raw leaping ability, straight-line speed, or power. (Okay, it’s especially not power.) Kinsey has incredibly light feet on the perimeter, great lateral quickness, accelerates quickly, and has an absolutely amazing second jump, not to mention Energizer-bunny conditioning.

Kinsey won’t wow you with one huge dunk, crushing block, or jaw-droppingly fast move to the bucket, but he constantly operates at just a bit of a faster pace than most everybody on the floor, and always seems to be deploying that extra step or hop.

-Second, Kinsey combines his athleticism with the basketball IQ of a true scrapper to provide all of the “little things” out on the floor. He’s a relentless seeker of turnovers, and always has one eye on the passing lanes for a lazy delivery, pressures the ball, and goes full-bore for every single loose ball and rebound. Had he qualified, he would’ve been a top-15 shooting guard in rebounding rate last season.

And once a turnover or rebound occurs, Kinsey loves the fast-break game as much as any Cavalier on the roster, flying down the court at every opportunity and looking to create numbers for the Cavaliers in the open court.

-Kinsey also knows how to play the game the right way on both ends, which is especially noticeable offensively. Kinsey’s not a volume scorer by any stretch of the imagination, and his playmaking is almost non-existent, but he does things to help the team offensively.

Most perimeter players who play with LeBron like to “stretch the floor” for him by essentially standing on the weak-side when LeBron has the ball and waiting to catch-and-shoot. It does work, but defenses don’t mind guys standing still a skip pass away from the ball as much as you think they would. Kinsey pressures defenses by actually making cuts on the weak-side, making his pass and immediately cutting through, weaving angles, flashing to the strong-side, and then rotating back. He keeps the spacing all the same, makes the defense have to watch another guy, and actually gives LeBron (or Mo) more high-percentage options with the ball.

-And just by the way, Kinsey is more skilled than you think; he can handle the ball, and while he shoots his jumper with a kind of side-to-side movement and doesn’t have much of a pull-up game to speak of, he can finish at the rim and can make shots with his feet set; his eFG% on jumpers last year was an impressive 46.1%, and he actually made 39% of his threes. That’s a very small sample size, and he’s probably not as good as those percentages suggest, but he’s not a guy defenses can completely ignore as a shooter.

-So, the elephant in the room: Why wasn’t Kinsey part of the rotation? A big part of it is that the Cavs didn’t want to fix something that wasn’t broken, and ultimately felt more comfortable in the playoffs with Wally and Boobie’s experience rather than trying out the inexperienced TK. When I asked MB about Kinsey when the Cavs played the Clippers this year, he said that he liked what Boobie was giving him in terms of the little things and didn’t see a need to make a change.

That certainly makes sense on one level-you’re talking about benching a well-paid veteran on a 66-win team to make room for Tarence Kinsey. And in the case of Boobie, the fact that Gibson has a contract that runs until 2013 was probably a consideration.

But this Cavs team could stand to be more dynamic, Wally and Pavs are now gone, and I love the idea of giving Kinsey run at SF with LeBron at the 4 to really pressure teams on both ends of the floor for limited stretches. Danny Green brings many of the same things that Kinsey does, with a better outside shot and less years on him. However, I hope the Cavs don’t forget that they have a player with a lot of talent who could give this team a whole new dimension in terms of perimeter pressure, offensive grit, and full-court capabilities for 15-20 minutes a game sitting right on their bench.

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Illustrator Reps
Guest
9 years 16 days ago

I really enjoy reading Cavs: The Blog » Blog Archive » Profiles In Profiling: Tarence Kinsey . It’s very interesting. Hope you will post something like this again.

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[…] straightforward guy and partly because the last time I did a player profile, I got excited, wrote a gushing manifesto, and Tarence Kinsey promptly buried most of Las Vegas under a giant pile of Fail. (You can go with […]

basketball diaries
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basketball diaries
9 years 4 months ago

I’m not disagreeing with this blog, because this man do in fact deserve a chance…yeah he may not be flashy, yeah he may can’t put up 20 plus a night, but lets not forget either his rookie season in memphis when he was given a chance when mike miller went down and he was rookie of the month for the mth of april.. he defended kobe during that same stretch and outscored him, and kept him below 25 pts after scoring 50+ the previous two games….will he be a superstar, i doubt it…but a good role player i can see him being if he was given a chance…you can’t judge how the man play when he only plays once every 3 or 4 games..so when he gets in of course he may act over excited but show confidence in TK and he will show and prove…

Keith
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Keith
9 years 4 months ago

I think the point being made here is simple: allowing other guys to work into the rotation is a good thing for the Cavs when Sasha and Wally don’t have the raw capability to put us over the top. Those guys have certain skills, but inconsistency and lack of pure talent can’t do it for us.

With them gone, guys like Boobie, TK, and West will have new roles, and hopefully Danny Green can get his minutes to define his skill set. A guy like Barnes with size AND athleticism is even better!

Adding a swingman is ideal, and adding a PF who can SHOOT! is ideal. Andy can play with Shaq…but don’t expect Andy to be able to do ANYTHING about helping LBJ or Shaq with double teams by knocking down 15 footers…that’s the point there.

It’s obvious the Cavs are good, but this whole article is about how to recognize talent to get BETTER!

Jamaal Mobley
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Jamaal Mobley
9 years 4 months ago

Okay, are you kidding me? Is this writer serious? I know terrance kinsley and i played against him at the park in tampa when he was growing. He got some skills, more than alot ot players but realistically speaking, he is never going to be a starter in the NBA. His place is right where its always been and thats at the end of the bench and playing garbage minutes. He’s a little soft and needs to work on his jumper and his ball handling big time.

Dave Robisch
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Dave Robisch
9 years 4 months ago

Thank you! I thought the same thing in the playoffs against Orlando. Why Brown didn’t at least try Kinsey on Turkolu or Lewis is baffling. I also don’t understand why he didn’t let Jackson use 6 punishing fouls against Howard. He is Kendrick Perkins like bulk which really bothers Howard. This is what disappointed me most about Brown and continues to worry me. He is not a coach who is very good at making adjustments and the playoffs are all about adjustments. I think using Kinsey and Jackson even for a few minutes in one of the losses could have turned the series. Instead, we went with the clueless Pavlovic and slow Wally with predictable results. I hope this year Kinsey gets a chance to be a Trevor Ariza type player for us.

RoytheBoy
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RoytheBoy
9 years 4 months ago

Kinsey certainly deserves another look this season. He’s definitely athletic and scrappy, but as far as how he contributes on offense, that’s questionable.

Either way, the fact that you even tried to convince me that TK is that good, I’ll be returning to this blog…

Jeremy aust
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Jeremy aust
9 years 4 months ago

i think Tk more than deserved sashas minutes i dont think sasha fit in the cavs rotation especially when he was on the floor with either ben wallace or anderson v they were limited offensively. i alway thought they needed another low post scorer to start with bigz last season or shaq this season and get rid of either wally or sasha which has happened now. i would try and trade big z and get someone like a brandon bass paul milsap and a expiring contract. and dont you think delonte is to small to play the2 wouldnt they be better off sarting tk and giving him mo’s back up minutes and some back up 2 mins i dunno

Jon
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Jon
9 years 4 months ago
I will have to say that I agree that Kinsey needs to get more of a shot. I am not going to refute that when he has not been in the lineup as a support player for the other starters, mainly when he has been the main offensive weapon, he cannot do it. I will say, as others have stated, he has the ability to contribute both on offense and defense, espically playing out on the wing. Situations similar to the Olando series where they had bigger gaurds who killed the Cavs on the wing. Granted I would not of played him in that series just becuase of lack of seeing what his true abilities off the bench are. Give him a shot to play with the regular starting rotation, either starting some or coming off the bench, give him some real minutes, and tehn make a descision on him. As Rob mentioned, he put up great numbers when Memphis was trying to tank their season. Now I like Boobie, and if you all remember, he was critical in getting us by Detriot in the Conference Finals. He played splendedly against Rando in last year’s Final. Granted he has now… Read more »
Rob
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Rob
9 years 4 months ago

I’m sure you Cavs folks weren’t paying attention a couple of years back when Memphis tried to tank the season to get a #1 draft pick. The last month of the year he started and played most of every game and scored nearly 20 a game the last 15 games or so. He totally blew their tanking plans and I swear they blackballed him the next year. I’m not suggesting he should be an all-star, or even necessarily a starter for the Cavs, but he is a player who will help you win. I think he’s better than Gibson but that’s just my opinion.

Spencer
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Spencer
9 years 4 months ago
Anybody who watched the few times Kinsey got a chance to show what he’s got last year, knows that he’s got something to give. He’s athletic, has a few skills and plays smart and hard – we probably could have used his nose for the ball when . When you’ve got a guy like that who is literally playing for his NBA life, you’ve got to give him a chance. This is how you find those unknown guys, like Birdman and Bowen and even Ariza, who can contribute and push your team over the hump. Can somebody explain to me why Shaq and AV can’t play together? Obviously it’s not ideal, but I don’t see why it’s impossible. AV mostly just roams around on offense setting picks and cutting to the hoop. It’s not like he’s going to get in the way. i think it’s also time to address the possibility that Boobie may not have as big a role on this team as people thought he would. Even if he gets his shot back, it’s all he really has going for him unless he miraculously learns to put the ball on the floor and finish near the hoop. He’s… Read more »
Tom Pestak
Admin
9 years 4 months ago

I actually kind of agree with some of John’s points – and I think TK should have gotten more burn last season.

I thought he brough a lot of energy and played well with LeBron.

He did NOT, however, play well when he was the primary scoring option.

Some of you guys are being a little harsh.

And to the guy that said Danny Green will do what TK does in Spade? Two different players. Green is slower with a better shot, and TK is more of a jumping bean.

Sean
Guest
9 years 4 months ago

I agree with action8 (comment #10) about Delonte – as I’m reading Krolik’s comments about Kinsey’s athleticism, my first thought was, “Dude, have you never seen Delonte play?”

With that said, I’ve been anxious to see what Kinsey could do with regular minutes. I thought his lack of playing time had more to do with a roster full of veteran experience rather than blatant shortcomings on his part. On most occasions that I saw him, I thought he positively contributed to the team. He should have at least gotten Sasha’s minutes…

Rob Mahoney
Guest
9 years 4 months ago

Love you, Starship Troopers.

action8
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action8
9 years 4 months ago

Lets face it, everyone was desperate to see another look off the bench last season. TK didn’t get reps and everyone wondered why. With the DUI, I think he’s going to have to burn down the summer league to make the 15 man roster. He’ll get picked up somewhere else and we’ll see what we see.

This whole post is a huge insult to Delonte. Nobody has been more impressive that that guy when absolutely nothing else is working. Mr. West will outscrap any player on this team.

HoopsDogg
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HoopsDogg
9 years 4 months ago

Let me rephrase. Andy can feed the low post from the high post, sorry about the error.

HoopsDogg
Guest
HoopsDogg
9 years 4 months ago
This is pretty much one of the worst blogs I’ve ever read by you. They’re right. Kinsey looks overwhelmed most of the time he’s on the court in important minutes. He has no swagger, no handle, is a borderline shooter, an ok finisher, and a good defender. He is… wait for it… a skinny Ira Newble. Danny Green will replace what he does in spades. I doublt Newble, er , Kinsey will even be on the team next year. As for the notion of whether Shaq and Andy can play together, why wouldn’t they be able to? Andy can cut off the weak side, and also play in the high post (where he’s a decent passer), and feed the high post. Andy’s not a post up player anyway, and for a big man, he’s not terrible at putting it on the floor, and his interior passing is pretty good. I could see Andy and Shaq passing nicely on the interior. Now is Andy a great Spot Up shooter? No, but Andy is a player who doesn’t have to be right at the basket to get offensive boards. He gets a lot of long offensive boards, which Shaq does not. Plus… Read more »
Lebrian
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Lebrian
9 years 4 months ago

TK’s role on this team is perfect for him. When we have 6 or 7 guys injured insert him into the rotation and he’s serviceable in small doses. Plus I’m pretty sure his main job is to keep the towels warm for Lebron.

Dan
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Dan
9 years 4 months ago

Just WHEN was Varejao effective offensively? That statement does NOT make sense about him and Shaq not being comapatible offensively. Varejao is not needed on offense an, if he is, the Cavs are going down down down!

jon
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jon
9 years 4 months ago

I seem to recall him starting this year for one game… and being terrible

mife
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mife
9 years 4 months ago

Brad:

I am not necessarily on the boat with TK being the second coming (LBJ the first coming), but just because someone gets garbage minutes doesnt’ mean that he’s a garbage player. Remember Bobby Phils (RIP)? That guy rode pine for two or three years and then was practically an all-star with charlotte.

That said, I thought that TK meshed well before he hurt his ankle. I would rather have Matt Barnes though.

Brad
Guest
Brad
9 years 4 months ago

This blog was kind of humorous. I had to stop reading about 1/2 way through.

Terance Kinsey gets garbage minutes because Terance Kinsey is a garbage player. To think that he can be a rotation player and put in quality minutes night in and night out is ridiculous. Have you seen him play??? He is nowhere near the type of player you are making him out to be. I don’t understand how people have such a high view of this guy.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
9 years 4 months ago

If TK breaks into the rotation this year, the least he could do is take you out to dinner.

You’re right, though. TK deserves a real shot at the SG/SF rotation.

Mike
Guest
Mike
9 years 4 months ago
So the guy was on the court for 7% of the minutes, most of which you admit were useless garbage time minutes. And you think that you saw something that shows that Kinsey can be a legitimate rotation player? That he was a “slightly” worse version of what Larry Hughes was supposed to be – keeping in mind that Hughes was supposed to be a 20 point/6 rebound/4 assist/3 steal guy when he was signed by the Cavaliers? Kinsey has done absolutely nothing to justify that kind of praise. The guy doesn’t “have a lot of talent” just because you identified him as a sleeper last season. It’s fine to think that Kinsey might be able to help the Cavaliers. But to think that he can give a championship team 15-20 minutes of production is absolutely ludicrous given what he did on the court last season. This isn’t Trevor Ariza we’re talking about, it’s Tarence Kinsey. For all the talk about his “energizer bunny conditioning” and the “little things” he does on the court, the fact remains that the Cavaliers were a worse team when he was on the court than when he was sitting on the bench. Instead of… Read more »
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