The Backdoor Cut: Journeymen Edition

The list of NBA players who have played for multiple teams is long. However, the list of players who have made a substantial impact for multiple teams is shorter. Take out your perennial starters and All-Stars, and you have yourself the role players and journeymen of the league. An elite, yet often overlooked group of gentlemen who are the glue guys out there keeping franchises together through consistency and patience.

As a staff, we wanted to take some time to properly acknowledge the journeymen who have made the most impact on us and our experience with the NBA. In addition, we go a little bit further to declare and justify which of their many franchises we will always associate them with.

Brofessor: Mike Miller, Miami Heat


The South Dakota Sniper. Let if Fly. MM. You get the picture. Mike freaking Miller. This guy has always been an impact player wherever he has been in the NBA. Though he has called seven different cities home during his seventeen season career, I will always associate Miller as a member of the Miami Heat. He came off the bench and helped them win multiple championships during his time in South Beach.

Mike Miller started his career off in style, taking home the ROTY award in his first campaign. He earned this award in Orlando, who selected him fifth overall in the 2000 NBA draft. After honing his craft in Orlando for a few seasons, this sharpshooter (40% from 3 for his career), made his way to Memphis for the first of his two stints. Not coincidentally, this is where he first caught my eye and I developed an appreciation for his game.

Not everyone can join the inner circle of superstars without technically being one of them. Mike was a beloved, appreciated, and loyal teammate who has earned praise over the years from legends LeBron James and Tracy McGrady to name a few. 

During his NBA career, Miller played in over 1,000 games and maintained a 10p/2r/1a average throughout his tenure in the league. He always will be remembered as one of the “cool guys” in the NBA, and every team would love to have his clone on their roster (especially at the salary he was fetching back in the day). Miller never made over $10mm. These days, some guys with fewer contributions than him are making north of $20mm.

Miller was full of hustle, grit, and skill. You can rest assured that no matter how you remember MM, he left his mark on many a franchise.



Photo: USA Today

Lean back in your chair and feast your eyes on this career:

20052010 New York Knicks
20102011 Boston Celtics
2011 Oklahoma City Thunder
2012 Golden State Warriors
2012–2013 Chicago Bulls
20132015 Denver Nuggets
2015 Los Angeles Clippers
2015 New Orleans Pelicans
2016 Hapoel Tel Aviv
2017 Delaware 87ers
2017 Guaros de Lara

If this ain’t the definition of a “journeyman,” I don’t know what is.  And even though Nate had his longest stop with the Knicks from 05-10, I most remember him during the lone year he suited up for the Bulls — more detail on that later.  As a 5-9 guy myself, I have to give special shouts to Nate, who likewise stands at 5-9 (and that’s an NBA measurement, so he’s probably 4-11 in real life).  Five foot nine marks perhaps the most unheralded height in American culture.  You’re not short, but you’re also not tall, so anything you do especially great doesn’t resonate like it would if you were a tall guy that was good at soccer — or a short guy that was good at basketball.  Props to Nate for putting 5-9 on the map.  Much love, homie.

Regarding his career as a Bull, if you have about four minutes to spare, I dived into in the film room and found this fairly inconsequential first-round 2013 THREE OVERTIME playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets.  A Bulls team that was, notably, without D-Rose — who had just began his well-documented journey to First Team All-Injured.  In this otherwise mediocre matchup, however, Nate treated us to a short-guy show and exploded for 34 points, with 23 IN THE FOURTH QUARTER.

On the sad day that Nate leaves this earth to depart to whatever afterlife you believe in, I hope this YouTube video is projected on his tombstone, because it is the most Nate Robinson-y sequence captured on film.  A sequence where irrational confidence meets the “hold up he’s actually hoopin’ for real” attitude, and we’re treated to the sort of bizarre random performance that makes the National Basketball Association the greatest professional league in sports.

Let’s also not discredit the fact that Nate is a THREE-TIME dunk contest champion (2006, 2009, 2010) which is preposterous when you again recall that he stands at a decisively average FIVE FOOT NINE.  In 2009, he dunked over the All-Star formerly known as Orlando Magic Dwight Howard in a display of otherworldly athleticism many of us are incapable of comprehending:

Nate is also a member of Uncle Drew’s all-blacktop geezer squad, playing the part of “Lights Out,” and flashing his comedic brilliance to the world.  As I write this piece, I just love this guy more and more.

Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Post-career Nate has shifted to the Podcast world, where he hosts the entertaining HOLDAT Podcast with former Bull Carlos Boozer.  As a member of the media, Nate is also responsible for some hilarious antics at All-Star Weekend, specifically when he asked Kyrie — in light of his flat-earther status — “if he believes in aliens.”  All this begs the question: what can’t Nate do?

When Nate joined Floyd “Money” Mayweather on the sidelines for the 2018 Dunk Contest “from one little guy to another,” Floyd remarked on Nate’s career with perhaps the greatest summation:

“We’re small, but we do great things.”  Damn right.

Slim: Shaun Livingston, Golden State Warriors


Shaun Livingston is currently in his 4th season with the Golden State Warriors, but many fans who are new to the NBA don’t realize that the Warriors are actually the 9th team Livingston has suited up for. The modern NBA fan will remember Shaun Livingston as a member of potentially one of the best dynasties in league history, as he has already helped the Warriors secure 2 NBA Championships. In the only season they didn’t bring home the title, they set the record for most wins in regular season history. They will once again be the favorites to win it all this year, and Livingston will remain under contract for 2 more seasons, after signing a 3-year, $24 million deal this past off-season. He will rightfully be remembered as a member of Dub Nation, but his career is far from what Livingston could have imagined for himself.

In 2004, Livingston was selected 4th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. Livingston entered the draft after deciding to forego his collegiate career, which he had committed to Duke. He made the jump to the NBA straight out of Peoria Central High School in Illinois. Livingston was the 2nd rated prospect in his high school class, trailing only Dwight Howard. He was ranked ahead of the likes of Josh Smith, Rudy Gay, Sebastian Telfair, Al Jefferson, JR Smith, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Livingston was projected as a big guard, with great size and leaping ability that had a high basketball IQ. He also possessed the ability to defend multiple positions, and boasted a basketball savvy that helped him to become a Parade All-American and the Co-MVP of the coveted McDonald’s All-American Game.

Image result for livingston clippers

Livingston didn’t necessarily get off to a blazing start in his professional career, mainly because the Clippers had acquired Sam Cassell, which forced Livingston off the ball and didn’t allow him to take over the reigns of the team early on.  However, in 2006, Livingston played a large part in the best season in Clippers history. Averaging 25 minutes per game, Livingston came off the bench as the Clippers advanced to the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs, before falling in game 7 to the Steve Nash/Amare Stoudemire led Suns.

Then in February 2007, Shaun Livingston suffered one of the ugliest knee injuries in the history of the NBA, tearing his ACL, PCL, and meniscus, spraining his MCL and dislocating his patella. It was the first time I ever remember being able to see such a gruesome injury on television. It was so bad that someone in the medical field who was working at the hospital when Livingston arrived, warned Livingston that his leg may have to be amputated.

Over a year later, Livingston was cleared to resume basketball activities and eventually signed with the Miami Heat prior to the 2008-2009 season. He appeared in just 4 games for Miami and was traded to Memphis in January, where he was waived immediately. He was then signed by the Tulsa 66ers, who were the D-League affiliate of the OKC Thunder at the time. Just before the end of the season, Livingston signed a deal with OKC.

Livingston then bounced around quite a bit before landing in Brooklyn and putting together his most consistent season to date in 2013-2014. Livingston played in 76 games, which was a career-high for him, and Brooklyn made it to the second round of the Playoffs.

The following off-season, Livingston signed with Golden State, and the rest is history. Not quite the career he had in mind, but still a pretty damn good one that has produced 2 Championship Rings and counting.

Guest Contributor Jarod Stark: Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks

Jason Terry is one of those players that I feel is severely underrated when it comes to talking about the greatest sixth men of all time; and yes I know he didn’t come off the bench all the time in his career. However it’s what allowed him to be as productive as he was into late in his career. Jason Terry is someone, who up until he joined Brooklyn, was always a Dallas Maverick.

If you think about it, all of his greatest moments came while on that team. I honestly forgot he was still in the league till I saw a clip from a Bucks game of him yelling at someone. The greatest Jason Terry story I can remember was him thoroughly cooking LeBron James in the 2011 NBA Finals. It’s one of those moments that aren’t used to bolster one player’s career but to degrade others (not trying to justify LeBron James that series — he was garbage).

That Mavericks team and the story behind their failure throughout the 2000’s until that point, is honestly one of the best of these past few decades. Jason Terry has played for 6 total teams in his career and after Dallas, hasn’t found a team he’s stuck with for more than two years. Terry is one of those players that people can easily forget when bringing up great sixth men, but when it mattered most, The JET stepped up.


If you like what you see, there is more where that came from 

[Featured image courtesy of: .


Leave a Reply