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Key Injuries Could Ease Former D-League Players Chances At Making A 15-Man Roster

Lengthy injury recovery times to some of the NBA's brightest stars could help former D-League players land a roster spot coming out of training camp.

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

When Dallas Mavericks' guard Roddy Beaubois went down with an ankle injury late in the 3rd quarter of their first preseason game in Germany, Josh Akognon's chances of making the final 15-man roster certainly increased a bit. Players, coaches, owners and fans all do not wish an injury upon anyone when it comes to their team, however, one cannot ignore the fact that it generally means a roster spot and an opportunity open up for another player when someone goes down.

As we get deeper into NBA training camp, certain former D-League players have increased odds at making the 15-man roster for their respective team. Key injuries around the league to some of the most recognizable names in the NBA, have teams searching for guys to fill roster spots who normally may have not had the opportunity to otherwise. Let's take a look at which former D-League players could be simply in the right place at the right time.

Andre Emmett - Chicago Bulls - Derek Rose ACL injury

The all-time leading scorer for Texas Tech turned in a nice showing for the D-League Select team in Las Vegas this summer, he averaged 11.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. As mentioned here at, with Vance Cooksey being waived recently, Emmett just needs to hang on and hope that one of the other fringe players such as Kyrylo Fesenko and Marko Jaric gets cut ahead of him. Emmett is probably at the pinnacle of his playing career, at 30-years-old his time to impact an NBA team contributing solid minutes off a bench is now more than ever. Emmett can play either at the guard or forward position, which is a nice luxury for the Bulls depth chart as they try and withstand Rose's absence to start the first half of the season.

Courtney Fortson - Los Angeles Clippers - Chauncey Billups - Achilles injury

Fortson enters Clippers training camp for a second consecutive season. Last season Fortson received a call-up from the Los Angeles D-Fenders to a 10-day contract when Chris Paul was sidelined with a hamstring injury. The 5'11'' point guard out of Arkansas has two D-League stints to his name, and was called up from the D-Fenders likely because of his time spent with the Clippers in training camp last season. Obviously, the Clippers like Fortson and feel like he can run their system due to his familiarity with the club. With CP3 recovering from an offseason thumb surgery, and Billups still a ways out recovering from his Achilles injury, Fortson could add some depth behind new addition Jamal Crawford as the Clippers enter the season a little banged up at the guard position.

**Editor's note: Following this report, Fortson was waived later Sunday, 10/7, by the Clippers.**

Mikki Moore/Dan Gadzuric - Philadelphia 76ers - Andrew Bynum - knee surgery recovery

Bynum has been held out of training camp for 3-weeks for precautionary reasons following his knee surgery this offseason. Reports have also stated that Bynum is suffering from a bone bruise on his right knee as well. Both Moore and Gadzuric spent time in the D-League last season, and both are considered journeymen of the post position. They have a combined 24 years of NBA experience, and are in 76ers training camp mostly to be bodies for Kwame Brown and Spencer Hawes to compete against. However, if Bynum's knee problems continue into the season, which historically speaking is easy to assume as a possibility, Moore or Gadzuric could land a roster spot as insurance for the 76ers at the center position.