First thing that came to mind was: wow, now that I think about it, Lou Williams HAS been pretty blessed with the cities he’s played in (Philadelphia, Atlanta, Toronto, Los Angeles) – and now, after Tuesday’s trade between the Lakers and Rockets: Houston! Not bad!
Then, on Wednesday, we learned Marcus Thornton, the NBA’s “here, you can have him too we don’t care” MVP, was reportedly traded AGAIN – this time, from Washington back to Brooklyn.
Sources: Washington's Marcus Thornton joins Nicholson in the trade package to Brooklyn.
NBA journeymen, man, they live a crazy life. A different team seemingly every year, a different city, a different group of colleagues, different coaches, etc. Now I’m thinking which relatively current NBA player has had the best career? No, I’m not talking about LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Steph Curry here – I’m referring to who has had the best “quality of life” as a professional basketball player in regards to the location of their employment.
Even before we get into the candidates, let’s go over the judging process:
There are 30 NBA cities, each of which has been assigned a score of 1-10 based on four categories:
1) Desire: Is the city a popular vacation destination? Do NBA players want to live in this city? Is it known that wealthy athletes generally enjoy establishing residence here?
2) Weather: Rarely do you find a multi-millionaire who thinks: “HELL YES!!! CRAPPY WEATHER!!!” Do they party in the city where the heat is on, all night on the beach until the break of dawn?
3) Amenities: a.k.a. nightlife, beach, casinos, food, culture, luxury, etc.
4) Franchise Prestige: Not so much “is the team winning?” as opposed to “wow, I have the opportunity to play for ____!” Translation: how respectable is the team’s long-term reputation? Does the franchise matter regardless if it’s having a good season or not? Does this franchise still matter if a perennial superstar isn’t in uniform? Talking legacy here.
Under these guidelines, before being traded to Houston, Lou Williams scored a 278: 119 (17 x 7 years in Philly) + 52 (26 x 2 years in Atlanta) + 27 (27 x 1 years in Toronto) + 80 (40 x 2 years in Los Angeles with the Lakers).
278 total points divided by 12 years in the league = 23.2 weighted average.
That’s pretty solid. Can anyone beat this? Surely any player who’s ever been employed by the Lakers, Heat, or Knicks is going to say yes per these rules, so, here’s a new prerequisite: the player must have played for a MINIMUM of five different franchises. I’m interested in the journeymen of the league because we already know Robert Sacre, Udonis Haslem, and Carmelo Anthony have lived phenomenal lives by making residence in the three of the United States’ premier living destinations for extended periods of time. Sasha Vujacic has spent more than a decade in the NBA and has never played for a team not located in New York City metro area or Los Angeles. Good for you.
Now, which current/recent NBA journeyman has had the highest quality of life throughout their career? I offer a few candidates with weighted averages MORE THAN 20.0, in ascending order of score:
And the winner of the illustrious “I had the best NBA life of any journeyman” award goes to…
I know what you’re thinking: “Ok, this is great — but who’s had it the roughest?” Don’t worry, I got you. Ladies & Gentlemen, without further ado … the one … THE ONLY!!!!
It’s trade deadline season, ya’ll, pack your bags! Because one day, god willing, you might end up on this list.