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Lakers Report Cards: Theo Ratliff

56852166This is the 12th edition of Lakers Report Cards, focusing today on reserve center Theo Ratliff.

Grade: F

Every step looked painful. Every movement seemed slow. And every injury update kept prolonging deeper and deeper into the season. 

There's frankly not much to analyze when it comes to Ratliff's season, which consisted mostly of him of sitting on the sideline while rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee. After playing in the first eight games, posting two points on one-of-six shooting, 12 rebounds and five blocks, Ratliff remained sidelined for nearly 4 1/2 months before returning to the court. The next three appearances in the Lakers' 110-82 victory March 31 over Dallas, the Lakers' 102-93 victory April 12 over San Antonio and the Lakers' 109-100 Game 1 first-round loss April 17 to New Orleans served nothing more than garbage time, combining for zero points and one rebound in five minutes. 

There's little use dissecting those performances because the small sample size shows that, at age 37, the 15-year-old veteran has little left in the tank. Once such a defensive stalwart that he averaged more than three blocks a game six times in a seven-year run during the prime of his career and even made an All-Star appearance in 2001, it was painful to see Ratliff hobble up and down the court. Ratliff didn't talk to reporters after his exit interview, but it was clear General Manager Mitch Kupchak had some second thoughts about signing Ratliff last offseason to a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $1.35 million.

"Theo Ratliffgot injured and we didn’t expect that to happen," Kupchak said during his exit interview. "We hoped he could help us get through December and November while Andrew [Bynum] was recovering. Low and behold, Theo goes down with an injury."

With so many areas plaguing the Lakers in what ended in a disappointing sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals, Ratliff's inability to provide anything of substance proves to be marginal. His absence, however, seemed to negatively affect other players. There was plenty of debate on whether Bynum was at fault for delaying offseason surgery so he could attend the World Cup and because his doctor didn't have an appointment until 10 days after the initial date. But what isn't debatable is how Pau Gasol's increased playing time eventually caught up to him.

Of course, the Lakers could've offset this problem for taxing the $70,000 a week fee for acquiring a backup center, or Gasol could've simply showed more mental toughness considering that his playing time increased by only two minutes per game compared with 2010-11. But lacking Ratliff's eight minutes per night the Lakers hoped he could provide during Bynum's absence at least expedited and exposed the team's long-term weaknesses. That propelled Kobe Bryant to try to make up the difference with varied success, while the Lakers' reserves firing three-pointers even when their initial hot shooting streak in November dropped off. As small of a factor Ratliff's absence provided, it was still a domino piece that made the Lakers' more consequential problems even worse. 


Lakers Report Cards: Kobe Bryant 

Lakers Report Cards: Pau Gasol

Lakers Report Cards: Lamar Odom

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers center Theo Ratliff blocks a shot by Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko during an exhibition game at Staples Center. Credit: Jayne Oncea / US Presswire / October 17, 2010

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Good read from @timkawakami on what it means for Jerry West to join Golden State exec board

Sad to hear the Macho Man Randy Savage pass away. Eager to hear what wrestling fans @ronartest and @reallamarodom have to say about it

*RIP Macho Man. He was always one of my favorite wrestlers. And Queen Elizabeth was always so fine.

*I'm not too upset about Jerry West working for the Warriors.

*Theo Ratliff was signed to play maybe 15 minutes a game. He couldn't even give us that and that didn't help us at all this year. It sucks because Ratliff really could have helped us when Bynum went down. That would have at least taken away the excuse that Pau got tired filling in for the Beast.

*I am not a fan of Pau Gasol anymore. The way he went out was pathetic in my opinion. I wouldn't mind one bit, if we were to trade him for 80 cents on the dollar.

Go Lakers!

With Jerry West going to the Warriors, can a trade of Stephen Curry for Walton and some deflated basketballs be far behind?

Posted by: Giant Green Bald Headed Lunatic | May 20, 2011 at 11:08 AM

I doubt it. Only Kevin McHale can pull that off. But don't under value the deflated basketballs...after all they're starring in the latest NBA commercials for the finals.

I think Monta Ellis for Luke Walton would be feasible.


Note to LRob - McHale was fired, Kupchak is still around. Hey, can you re-use that retired Aaron McKie contract again, or was that a one-shot deal?

MM - don't think the salaries work, you'd have to throw in Kareem's reduced coaching salary to make the numbers work.

I guess it's time to go eat a slim jim and remember the good times.



Theo Ratliff's injury screwed up our ability to practice as we should and ultimately compounded a series of issues hiding beneath the surface as our players got lost in their celebrity statuses.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


By the way, getting rid of DJ Mbenga for Theo Ratliff was downright stupid.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


"In my opinion, the Lakers would be best served to abandon the Triangle and use another system that would likely produce similar, if not better, results, and also would allow the Lakers more flexibility in making personnel changes in the future without worrying about the learning curve associated with such a complex offense."
Nice article in Silver Screen. I couldn't said it better.
Go Lakers!!!

Note to LRob - McHale was fired, Kupchak is still around. Hey, can you re-use that retired Aaron McKie contract again, or was that a one-shot deal?

Posted by: Giant Green Bald Headed Lunatic | May 20, 2011 at 12:58 PM

McHale fired....nooo...I wonder why. It looks like the Memphis deal was a win/win, but the Minny trade...not so much.

By the way, getting rid of DJ Mbenga for Theo Ratliff was downright stupid.

Posted by: Jon K. | May 20, 2011 at 01:23 PM

And that was because... he didn't have high BBal IQ and wasn't a triangle type player. Instead we get a high bbal IQ player (AKA old and frail), and also kept Luke. To be fair, this season wasn't his fault to suck. Why even Phil didn't wanted Luke playing?

Go Lakers!!!

@LRob - don't know how the MEM deal was a win-win - lakers were good right away, and it took the Grizz three years to be relevant. You do know, of course, that second round picks have no cash value or trade value, right? So before you tell me how the Grizz KNEW Marc Gasol would be good, check this out:
The BULLS had a package that included Nocioni and NOAH to trade to MEM, but........for some reason, they felt the lakers deal of Kwame Brown and the retired Aaron McKie was a better match!!
Meanwhile, three players the Celtics traded for KG are still in the league, albeit only one (Telfair) with the Wolves. Al Jefferson was traded to Utah, and Ryan Gomes is now on the many guys you traded for Pau are still in the league? Does Kwame playing for the Bobcats even qualify?

2. Marc is a HUGE HUGE one. and Zeebo, acquired with expiring money

Memphis could have had LO & Bynum, but McHale did not want to make a better deal with the Lakers. Therefore, he deserves the firing he got.

The SEC should be locking people up involved in that KG deal for insider trading

We should've picked up Shaq for pennies on the dollar.

@Tim4Show - again, the deal for Garnett was 5 for one, including Theo Ratliff. NO WAY the Grizz knew Marc Gasol would be that addition, you are DEAD WRONG about the acquisition of Randolph....he was acquired in a TRADE from the Clips for Quentin much for your theory....oh, well...maybe Stern will allow you to trade McKie's contract again...for Stephen Curry!

Not the best year for Mitch and ownership. Letting Farmar go but keeping Brown, who started out strong but ultimately flatlined. Signing Blake when the team should have signed someone like JJ Barea instead (getting a better PG and keeping him from Dallas). Signing Ratliff who didn't help at all. Trading SaVu and a number 1 pick for Joe Smith, who also hardly ever played and was not going to be a 3-point shooter even when he rarely played. The Lakers kept trying to save money at every stage of the season while Mark Cuban kept spending money and got Tyson Chandler and Peja, each making signficant contributions toward sending the Lakers home early.

Let's face it. The Lakers were very lucky to win the championship the past two years. I fully understand that luck does play a part on the way to the trophy. The Lakers certainly didn't roll over anyone on their way to victory. After last season, I fully expected The Lakers to make some acquisitions and trades to improve their chances at a threepeat. Instead, I was disheartened to watch every team take the steps to improve their teams, while The Lakers were diminishing their opportunities to maintain a quality, high caliber run at another championship. The Lakers didn't just fall apart late in the season or the post season. The writing was on the wall early on. I spent most of my Laker watching yelling at my TV. This time I hope The Lakers get it right.

All Star in 2011. Wow! Didn't know he had such a good year. Surprised you gave him an "F". We should rename him the "Quiet Assassin".

I agree wirth LakerGreg,
MITCH LOST IT FOR US. Should have kept DJ Mbenga, instead had to overwork Pau first part of season.
And then giving up Sasha and Farmar for the terrible Steve Blake. Lakers need a good backup center and a real point guard.

We should get Dwight Howard for Center, CP3 for Point Guard

also get Shaq for less than veterans' minimum $10,000 LOL!!!!

get Yao Ming for Veterans minimum.

get Steve Nash as a back up point guard


As if everyone expected never to have misfortune? This is the new NBA. As in most sports, when teams win, bit players leave for promises of more playing time. I don't see anyone the Lakers let go in the playoffs. Farmar wanted to leave, and Sasha was pouting about playing time...all on a championship team. Trevor wanted more money, and ended up getting less from another squad. The teams in it now have been doormats while we have been winning. How else do you draft rose, noah, durant, westbrook, ibaka, harden, taj gibson? Also, cuban has been a sieve for years....and the heat? The need players manipulating their destinies. These teams were building through lotteries and giving opportunities where teams could guarantee significant playing time. A championship "core" only has room for bit players for the most part. Hard decision had to be made, and they proved costly. This is a business, and we did have the highest payroll. I'm sure Phil decided to leave because he was probably facing a pay cut.

In my opinion, it is a perfect storm for the teams still in it. Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Magic....all underachieved. All these teams played in the recent finals, all favorites to contend, and all out for various reasons. The hear with their star power, and not facing a legitimate oponent (bulls, thunder too young) unless dallas continues to play lights out, and not choke as usual. If I'm wade...I'm feeling pretty good about now, as is espn whose execs are creaming now that labrick is center stage. Don't be like Lamar and Bynum.....lose with respect, and face the fact that it can't be all parades and confetti. Maybe the sting of losing will cause necessary changes to refocus and reload. If the shooting would improve, along with renewed focus, this is still a team capable of winning it all.



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