Russell Westbrook’s pursuit of a triple-double average has given some NBA fans the impression that the Oklahoma City Thunder are a one-man team, but the reality is very different. OKC is obviously not the same squad without Kevin Durant, but a variety of role players have contributed to put the team near the front of the Western Conference’s second pack of playoff contenders. While the efforts of these players do not grab as much attention as those of Westbrook and other stars, they matter plenty.
It has nearly been 15 years since Costas “Gus” Christofi, a limousine driver working to shepherd former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams and his litany of friends around for a wild night out, was accidentally shot to death in Williams’ New Jersey estate. After a series of deadlocked juries and retrials Williams later pled guilty to aggravated assault in the rifle death in 2010, and the former Nets center was found guilty on four counts of attempting to cover up his role in Christofi’s death. Williams, free since 2012 and working with an alcohol problem prior to Christofi’s death, is clearly still working through the aftermath after all but abandoning the post-NBA career that seemed so expertly laid out for him.
When one thinks of an NBA journeyman, what comes to mind is a veteran player that has found his way around the league, playing for several teams throughout his career. Joe Smith is the perfect example. Smith played in the NBA for 16 seasons, and yet never played more than three consecutive years for the same team. That led to Smith moving around between 11 different organizations in his 16-year career (which doesn't even include his second time around with the Timberwolves or the 76ers). The biggest move Brook Lopez has dealt with since entering the NBA has been the Nets' transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Although Lopez has stayed with the same team his entire career, the rollercoaster