NBA Experience: 16 years
Contract Status: Free Agent
2010-11 Averages: .2ppg, 1.3rpg, .5bpg, 16% FG
There really isn’t much to say about Theo Ratliff’s lone year in Los Angeles and what could be his final season of pro ball. Never expected to be more than an occasional contributor, Ratliff was brought on board for his defensive prowess. Well, we didn’t see much D from him if anything at all.
Ratliff played in just 10 games before undergoing knee surgery and never playing again.
While he didn’t contribute much in his limited time as a Laker his loss was big. With Andrew Bynum rehabbing from his own surgery, the frontline was very thin causing Pau Gasol to play extended minutes early in the season. Many feel that this had a lasting effect of Gasol’s performance.
Mitch Kupchak chose not to pursue other options in free agency leaving Gasol and Lamar Odom as the only true bigs on the roster for an extended period of time.
Ratliff’s true value never came to be. His size would have allowed Phil Jackson to give Bynum and Gasol extended rest on back-to-backs. While Ratliff’s injury certainly wasn’t the ultimate downfall of the Lakers it did factor in much more heavily than would appear.
Going forward it is highly doubtful the Lakers will bring Theo back. His career could be over as he nears 40 and his health is a huge concern as well. Ratliff made his mark in the NBA as a shot blocking, low post defender with a limited offensive game. All of the aforementioned qualities were exactly what the Lake Show lacked off the bench – except for the limited offense as there was plenty of that without Ratliff. Kupchak will most definitely have to address the need for another big once the lockout has been lifted.