According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a “journeyman” is known as “a worker or sports player who is reliable but not outstanding.” In the NBA, this title is used frequently to describe a player that has bounced around the league and struggled to find long-term real estate. While some of the NBA’s elite journeyman have put up All-Star numbers, they often have not received All-Star recognition.
In a tribute to the group of guys who have been extremely valuable to their teams over the years, whether it was measurable in various statistical categories or not, here is our list of the NBA’s 10 best active journeymen.
*In order to qualify, each player must have never been an All-Star, played six or more seasons and have played for at least five NBA teams.*
*** *** ***
10. LEANDRO BARBOSA (five organizations in nine years)
Career Year: ’06-07 Phoenix Suns – 18.1 ppg, 4.0 apg
Over his nine-year career, “The Brazilian Blur” has made stops in Phoenix, Toronto, Indiana, Boston and most recently, Washington. As a matter of fact, he was traded right away after being drafted No. 28 by San Antonio in 2003. Some attribute Barbosa’s success in Phoenix by virtue of Steve Nash‘s MVP years. However, Leandro has been a viable veteran option at either guard spot during his NBA tenure.
Most recently, Barbosa’s productivity was a great asset in Boston’s newly implemented uptempo style, especially after Rajon Rondo‘s season-ending injury. The speedy combo guard averaged 15.1 points and 4.1 assists per 36 minutes this season before suffering an ACL tear of his own, resulting in him being shipped out with Jason Collins for Jordan Crawford at the deadline.
He will probably never suit up for the Wizards but with a quick first step and the ability to light it up in transition, Leandro shouldn’t have trouble finding a new home next season after a healthy recovery.
9. NATE ROBINSON (five organizations in seven years)
Career Year: ’08-09 New York Knicks – 17.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, 3.9 rpg
Nate is another player that has the ability to fill it up immediately upon checking into the game. However, unlike Barbosa, Robinson also plays above the rim. While he is obviously known for his bag of tricks used during All-Star Weekend that have earned him three Slam Dunk titles, Kryptonate still has major game. Nate is an electric player with a chip on his shoulder, who has brought excitement to the Knicks, Celtics, Thunder, Warriors and Bulls.
After a career year in New York during the ’08-09 season, Robinson found himself in Mike D’Antoni‘s doghouse the following season. Finding himself out of the Knicks rotation for 14 games, Nate Rob erupted for 41 points off the bench against Atlanta after an entire month of riding the pine.
Since leaving the Big Apple, Robinson has embraced his new uniform, regardless of his role. After arriving in Boston during the ’09-10 season, the explosive guard helped the Celtics make a run to the NBA Finals while averaging 20 points and 5.1 assists per 36 minutes in the playoffs. Currently, Robinson is playing extremely well for Chicago by providing the Bulls with the steady guard play that can keep them afloat until Derrick Rose returns.
8. MIKE MILLER (five organizations in 12 years)
Career Year: ’06-07 Memphis Grizzlies – 18.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.3 apg
Miller has won a NBA Championship, been Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, but never a NBA All-Star. While his years in Orlando and Memphis were his strongest, Miller has brought his high basketball IQ and ability to stretch the floor to all five of his stops (MEM, ORL, MIN, WAS and MIA). While his hairstyles may have changed over the years, his talent for being a flamethrower from long range stayed constant.
It was most valuable during Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals when Miller broke a Finals record for most threes by a reserve, knocking down seven three-pointers and leading Miami to the organization’s second title.
7. JARRETT JACK (five organizations in seven years)
Career Year: ’11-12 New Orleans Hornets – 15.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, 3.9 rpg
Jarrett Jack has been an extremely valuable floor general in all five of his stops during his seven-year career. After playing in Portland, Indiana, Toronto and New Orleans, Jack finds himself in the last year of his deal after being traded to the up-and-coming Golden State Warriors this past summer.
While Jack was top 20 in assists last year after averaging 6.3 per game for the Hornets, not all of the attributes he brings are found on the stat sheet. Through his strong leadership and knack for making those better around him, the Georgia Tech product is flourishing for Mark Jackson‘s club this season, averaging 13.2 points and 5.5 assists per game off the bench. However, if Golden State doesn’t get rid of their hideous WNBA-looking jerseys by next season, hopefully Jack moves on to a sixth city.
6. MATT BARNES (eight organizations in nine years)
Career Year: ’12-13 Los Angeles Clippers – 10.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Barnes has been fortunate to continue his career in L.A. for the past three years, but after switching from the Lake Show to Lob City over the summer, Barnes became the most traveled journeyman on our list. Job security has yet to be in the cards during the tattooed swingman’s career as he has worn eight different jerseys in nine years, and is currently on a league minimum deal. From a statistical standpoint, Barnes is having his best year to date, averaging just under 15 points per 36 minutes. But what he brings to his squad simply cannot be measured by the numbers.
Identified as one of the NBA’s bad boys, the veteran from Sac-town is known for his hard-nosed play, shutting down the opposing team’s best player, and doing whatever his team needs to win games. His gritty play and winning attitude has been displayed over nine years with Sacramento, New York, Philadelphia, Golden State, Phoenix, Orlando, and with both organizations in Los Angeles.
5. COREY MAGGETTE (six organizations in 13 years)
Career Year: ’04-05 Los Angeles Clippers – 22.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.4 apg
Maggette joined his sixth NBA organization this past offseason after being dealt to the Detroit Pistons for Ben Gordon. The veteran journeyman has been at the center of five different deals over the course of his 13-year career. While he has only played in 18 games this season, the impressive body of work he put together during his NBA employment is undeniable.
With stops in Clipper-land, Orlando, Golden State, Milwaukee, Charlotte and now Detroit, Maggette is consistently among league leaders in free throws attempted and made. His talent for reaching the charity stripe was evident when he became the Clippers career leader in free throws made and attempted during his eight seasons with the squad.
After his Clipper days, he bounced around at a rapid rate, wearing four different jerseys in five seasons. Still, his overall offensive package allowed him to average over 18 points per game during five different seasons throughout his NBA career. Although he fell out of Lawrence Frank‘s rotation this year, Maggette isn’t far removed from consistent offensive production as, along with Gerald Henderson, he led the Bobcats in scoring last year.
4. AL HARRINGTON (six organizations in 14 years)
Career Year: ’08-09 New York Knicks – 20.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Al Harrington has been an offensive threat throughout his 14-year career. He averaged double-digits during 10 different seasons and in five different cities. With stops in Indiana, Atlanta, Golden State, New York, Denver, and now Orlando, Harrington has been productive wherever he ended up.
His best years were in New York, leading the Knicks in scoring and averaging 20.7 points and 6.3 boards per game during the ’08-09 season alongside future journeyman, Nate Robinson. After his offensive explosion in NYC, Harrington found himself part of two separate deals for superstars Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. Harrington is out to prove he still has it after dropping over 14 a game for the Nuggets last season.
3. JASON RICHARDSON (five organizations in 11 years)
Career Year: ’05-06 Golden State Warriors – 23.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.1 apg
J-Rich proved that he can straight light it up over his 11 NBA seasons with a career average of 17.3 points per game. After six great years with Golden State, the bouncy guard moved around to Charlotte, Phoenix, Orlando and now Philadelphia.
Richardson was a key component of the Phoenix Suns success during their run to the 2010 Western Conference Finals, averaging just under 20 points per game and shooting a sizzling 47.5 percent from long range in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the former Spartan’s career was put on hold after suffering a season-ending knee injury with Philadelphia this season. Look for J-Rich to bounce back and be an important piece to a NBA franchise next season. While he is certainly no longer in his prime, it’s weird that this guy never received All-Star accolades.
2. STEPHEN JACKSON (seven organizations in 12 years)
Career Year: ’09-10 Golden State Warriors – 20.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1.5 spg
Captain Jack averaged 18-plus seven times and donned just as many uniforms over his 12-year career. That can’t go unnoticed.
After playing his rookie season with the Nets, Jackson won a NBA Title with San Antonio in 2003. Currently, he is back in silver and black after making moves to Atlanta, Indiana, Golden State, Charlotte and Milwaukee.
In Golden State, Jackson was part of one of the biggest upsets in NBA Playoff history, as the No. 8-seeded Warriors upset the No. 1-seeded Dallas Mavericks, defeating them 4-2 in the first round of the 2007 Playoffs. After reaching career-highs of 20.7 points and 6.5 assists per game during the ’09-10 season with Golden State, Jackson moved on to Charlotte, where he set the franchise record for points scored in a game with 43 against the Rockets.
1. JAMAL CRAWFORD (six organizations in 12 years)
Career Year: ’07-08 New York Knicks – 20.6 ppg, 5.0 apg
Crawford already has his second Sixth Man award in the bag after absolutely killing it this season with the Clippers, and it was straight up blasphemous that he wasn’t selected as a reserve for this year’s All-Star Game. This human microwave can score from virtually anywhere on the court, giving all 29 other teams matchup nightmares.
The former Michigan Wolverine played the majority of his career in Chicago and New York before finding himself with Golden State, Atlanta, Portland and the L.A. Clippers. Crawford’s best years were at MSG, averaging career-bests in scoring during his last two years with the Knicks.
After moving around four times since then, Crawford acclimated himself with the uptempo style of Lob Angeles to the tune of 16.8 points per game this year as his squad attempts to make a championship run. If the Clippers reach their potential during this year’s playoffs, it will be because of their dynamic scorer and x-factor, Jamal Crawford, who is our ultimate journeyman.
Did we get it right?
Follow Matt on Twitter at @DimeMatt.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.