When he was young and healthy, Theo Ratliff was the league's best shot blocker. He was big and athletic, with a block percentage consistently above the 7% mark, which is a hard mark to achieve. This came at a cost - Ratliff tried to block every shot, and thus fouled a helluva lot, whilst also being a fairly sedate rebounder. But his career average of almost 5 blocks a game per 48 minutes is a testament to the fact that I wasn't lying above.
The major thing, however, is that Ratliff was rarely fully healthy. He played the full lockout season in 1999, had one 81 game season, and strangely played 85 games in 2004 due to a trade. But only three other times did he crack the 70 games played barrier...and those were his first three seasons. And 70 games isn't all that impressive of a total either, when you think about it.
Be it through the injuries or other mitigating factors, Ratliff never realised his offensive potential. Always with a weird looking jumpshot, Ratliff never developed anything resembling a go-to move. A decent finisher (and the jumpshot wasn't bad), he was not an offensive liability, but neither was he much of a threat. And these days, he's pretty much done. The offense is going, the athleticism has largely gone, and the health is no better. Ratliff still knows what to do, but, now more than ever, he can no longer do it.
- 4th April, 2009.