Where Are They Now: Courtney Fortson

Clippers/NBA Career:

After being unselected in the 2010 NBA Draft, Fortson spent some time in Romania and the (then) D-League. The Clippers signed him in December of 2011 (the lockout season) but waived him before the season started. They then brought him back up on a 10 day deal just a few weeks later, and he played in four games with the Clips. While he played in only 46 minutes, his quickness with the ball in his hands, aggressiveness, and vague resemblance to Lil Wayne won him some fan support. Sadly, he was waived after the 10 day contract was over, and returned to the D-League. He played well for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, standing out enough that the Rockets signed him to a 10 day contract before bringing him back for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, Fortson didn’t play all that well for the Rockets, and while they brought him to their Summer League team in 2012, he was waived by them in September.

2012-2013:

The Clippers signed Fortson to a training camp deal in late September, but their roster was full that year, and he was cut just over a week later. Fortson returned to the D-Fenders, with whom he would spend the remainder of the year. Courtney played a huge role for the D-Fenders that year as their starting point guard, receiving heavy minutes (38.4 per game) and making the D-League All-Star Team. Despite this, he actually performed worse than he had the previous season, shooting a much lower percentage from the field and deep, and turning the ball over at a higher rate. While Courtney continued to demonstrate scoring instincts and some passing ability, the poor efficiency and high turnovers were a grim sign for his ability to return to the NBA.

2013-2015:

In the summer of 2013, Courtney signed a contract with Trotamundos, a team in Venezuela. He played 15 games for them before their season ended, putting up big scoring numbers with solid efficiency. This performance may have been the catalyst in Fortson signing with Avtodor Saratov, a team in the VTB United League, the top division in Russian basketball and one of the best leagues overseas.

Fortson played for the better part of two years with Avtodor (taking a brief five game detour back to Venezuela in the summer of 2014), breaking out in the 2014-2015 season. He averaged 19 points and 8 assists for Avtodor that year, and helped lead them to the EuroChallenge (a now defunct competition that ran a level below the EuroLeague and EuroCup). In 13 games at that tougher level, he averaged 17 points per game, but most importantly, raised his assist numbers (to 9.8) and efficiency (44% from the field and 46% from three). His play wasn’t good enough to get Avtodor the championship, but it must have raised some eyebrows in Europe. To cap it all off, Courtney was awarded the EuroChallenge Player of the Year, one of the highlights of his career.

2015-2016:

In July of 2015, Courtney left Avtodor, signing with Banvit in the Turkish league. He was their starting point guard almost the entirety of the season, and put up solid numbers, albeit not quite up to his standard the year before. However, in EuroCup play (the second highest competition in Europe), he stumbled, seeing a drop in scoring, assists, and field goal percentage, and shooting a miserable 25% from three over 18 games. While EuroCup was the toughest competition he’d probably played since his NBA stint years before, it’s difficult to imagine Courtney performing that badly. It’s possible he was injured, or maybe he was just on a prolonged cold streak. Regardless, that stretch in EuroCup almost certainly left a poor impression on European teams and scouts, as Courtney moved to China the following season.

2016-Present:

Fortson made the jump to China in July 2016, joining the Zhejiang Lions. He put up incredible numbers in his first season: 29 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 8.5 assists, but was only just beginning. In his second year with the Lions, Courtney was named CBA MVP after putting up a staggering 30/7.7/11, while getting to the free throw line nearly 10 times per game. Zhejiang won the regular season championship in the process, propelled to victory after victory by Courtney’s tremendous play. Unfortunately, while Zhejiang made it to the CBA Finals, they were swept in four games, ending Fortson’s season.

The Future:

Like so many other NBA players before him, Courtney Fortson appears to have found a home in China. He’s making more money there than he would in the United States or Europe, is more famous, and is receiving a greater number of minutes. At age 30, and with a game reliant on quickness and speed, Fortson’s NBA dreams are probably over. His streaky shooting, high turnover rate, and small size meant he was unlikely to ever stick in the NBA, but he’s had a great career, all things considered, with some incredible highs. And given his dominance in China last year, the best might be yet to come.

Comments

Wow, that’s digging deep.

Nice work.

THIS MAKES ME HAPPY!!!

I hoped at least a handful of people on here (and just around Clippers fandom) would appreciate this

Glad I was right

YES, I HAVE HANDFULS OF APPRECIATION RIGHT HERE

Kiddings aside, Clips Nation always makes the off-season interesting and fun.

I remember this chap. He wasn't bad. Good to see he had (is having) some nice success as a pro.

Really appreciate how you were able to track CFs career into the hinterlands. xlnt research skills.

Honestly, this was just a lot of wikipedia, basketball reference, real gm, and google search

But yeah, it took a few hours haha

wow no idea he was doing so well in China

to me just a funny name in the back of my head, but CBA MVP!? that’s awesome. Joining the greats of Marbury, Lester Hudson (another former Clip), Beasley, and Jimmer.

The dude can really ball

He just has specific weaknesses that would make it very tough for him to have an NBA career.

If he could shoot consistently there’s no reason he couldn’t have been Yogi Ferrell. Alas.

But yeah, I was very happy to see that he’s been doing so well elsewhere. I would never have guessed it

CLIPPERS = CHINESE BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION FARM TEAM CONFIRMED

Rec'd for the homeland

Ain't a "where are they at now" without Keith Closs

Kidding aside, his journey is very interesting and I read he was actually coaching now in China.

CAN YOU DO ONE FOR TIM KEMPTON? THE REAL ONE, NOT THAT FAKE ONE THAT DOES COMMENTARIES FOR THE SUNS

This would be the "Where is D.B. Cooper" of all posts.

I cant wait to read the marqus blakey where are they now article...

That's a name I haven't heard in a long time

Fo nostalgia sake...

How about Mike Smith?

I've mostly done guys from around the Chris Paul era, just because I know them better

Also, I wanted to do more recent players because their careers are still going (or they still have hopes of them going, anyway).

But I can extend this to a look at older players’ careers if people want

I think a thematic retrospective would be fun

Like past Clipper lotto guard picks. For instance, I recently learned Keyon Dooling is the director of NBPA mental health and wellness program as well as a motivational coach. That’s pretty cool.

That would be fun

I’ll consider doing that

I saw the name JamesOn Curry in some NBA meme

because he’s the record holder for the shortest NBA career ever.

I just did a real estate deal with Mike Smith.

I just fronted the money and he is doing all the work.

Whoa I remember this kid! So this is what he’s doing now ha

Glad he’s making $$$ doing what he loves!

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