CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Charlotte Bobcats guard Chris Douglas-Roberts remembers feeling so depressed last year that he didn't want to get out of bed.
He was teetering on the brink of being out of the NBA for good.
The Dallas Mavericks cut Douglas-Roberts in January 2013 after he had played in only six games. He spent the rest of the season unemployed.
"I was really messed up," Douglas-Roberts said Friday. "I was depressed. I knew I could play. I knew I had talent. For whatever reason I wasn't in the league and wasn't getting any looks. There were days where I just wanted to be in the room all day and sleep. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I lost my mind a couple of times. Honestly."
Fast forward to right now, and Douglas-Roberts is preparing for his first NBA playoff game on Sunday at Miami. The former Memphis star has turned into a key contributor for the seventh-seeded Bobcats (43-39).
"He's been great," Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said. "He's tough. He's smart. He has a high basketball IQ. And when he's out there we execute as a team."
It's quite a change from the disappointment he felt a year ago. There were more than a few times where the 6-foot-7, 210-pound small forward wondered if he would ever get a chance to play again.
"It made me a very hungry killer," Douglas-Roberts said. "That's the best way to explain it. I had a chip on my shoulder because I wasn't getting interviewed. Nobody was cheering for me. I was out of the league. I felt like I was left for dead. Everybody forget about me."
In the end, he pulled through.
Douglas-Roberts recommitted himself to basketball, pushing just a little harder. He put his energy into getting better rather than sulking.
He played Summer League ball for the Los Angeles Lakers and parlayed that into a contract with the New York Knicks. Less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, the Knicks cut him and he signed with the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League, where he played well.
His big break came Dec. 11.
The Bobcats needed a small forward after losing Michael-Kidd Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor to injuries. They signed Douglas-Roberts to one-year, league-minimum contract.
Given another chance, Douglas-Roberts stepped up. He has helped the Bobcats to a 20-9 record since the All-Star break.
The 27-year-old Detroit native averaged 6.9 points in 49 games and developed into a key figure on offense, particularly late in games. Often, it's Douglas-Roberts on the court in the fourth quarter instead of Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
On Monday, Douglas-Roberts sank a buzzer-beater on a one-handed floater in the lane off an inbound pass to beat the Atlanta Hawks, 95-93.
He followed that up two nights later with 12 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Bobcats stay close and eventually overtake the Chicago Bulls for a 91-86 overtime win.
Charlotte will be counting on Douglas-Roberts in the series against the Heat.
"This is a dream to be here in the playoffs," Douglas-Roberts said.
He hopes to return to the Bobcats next season, but said that might be out of his control. In the meantime, he plans to continue giving it all he has on the court -- anything to avoid being out of the league again.
"I always said if I get another shot, I'm going to be hungry, and I'm going to kill you out there," he said.
One thing is for sure, Douglas-Roberts feels as if the experience has made him stronger.
"You go through those times," he said. "I think everyone can relate to those times. Once you come out of that it determines the rest of your life. You can go sulk and wonder why the sky is falling, or you can attack life. I chose the latter route."