Team Member Information
THEO RATLIFF PLAYS FOR THE DETROIT PISTONS.
Theophilus Curtis Ratliff was born April 17, 1973 in Demopolis, Alabama. Ratliff played basketball at Demopolis High School and later graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in communications. While at Wyoming, Ratliff was named to the Western Athletic Conference First Team in his final season and was a two-time All-WAC Defensive Team selection. Ratliff ended his college career with 425 blocked shots, the second-best total in NCAA history and was the fifth player in NCAA history to block 400 or more shots during his career. Theo Ratliff was selected with the 18th pick of the 1995 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, and played with them for 2½ years.
In his rookie season, Ratliff led the Pistons in blocked shots with 116, his 1.55 per game average ranking 19th in the NBA. He blocked at least two shots in 36 games, posting a season-high five blocks on three occasions. During the 1996-97 NBA season, Ratliff led the Detroit Pistons in blocked shots for the second year in a row, his 1.46 average ranking 19th in the NBA even though he played just 17.0 minutes per game and in a total of 76 games, starting exactly half of them at center. Ratliff saw only brief action in three of Detroit's five playoff games, totaling eight points, four rebounds and four blocks in 18 minutes.
During the 1997-98 season Theo Ratliff was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers who were looking for a defensive presence in the middle. He played in Philadelphia for 3 seasons, and was voted Eastern Conference starting center of 2001 All-Star Game, but was unable to play due to injury. He was a key fixture on the 2000-01 team that made it to the NBA finals; but an injured Ratliff was traded at the trading deadline to the Atlanta Hawks for Dikembe Mutombo.
Ratliff missed most of the next season due to injury, but rebounded to post 262 blocks the following year for Atlanta. Hawks fans finally got the opportunity to view a healthy and dominant Ratliff patrolling the paint. The 6-10 center bounced back from his injury-plagued season to finish ninth in balloting for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. In the 2003-04 season he recorded a league leading 307 blocked shots, despite a trade to the Portland Trail Blazers, along with Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Dan Dickau for Rasheed Wallace and Wesley Person.
After the 2004 season, he signed a lengthy contract with the Blazers; however he was not as effective in 2004-05 season as he had been the previous season. As a result, midway through the season, he lost his starting job to Joel Przybilla. On June 28, 2006, the Boston Celtics acquired Ratliff along with Sebastian Telfair from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the number 7 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, power forward/center Raef LaFrentz, and point guard Dan Dickau.
On July 31, 2007 it was made official that Theo Ratliff was to be traded along with Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, and draft picks, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Timberwolves MVP Kevin Garnett.
As a 12-year NBA veteran, Theo Ratliff has long been known to be a terrific shot blocker, which is something Minnesota has truly never had. Ratliff is able to effortlessly get in the right position at the right time to block shots without making the fouls. Ratliff has swatted 1,815 shots in his career and has twice led the league in blocks per game and is fourth among active players in blocks, trailing only Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning.
Last season, Theo Ratliff played in only two games due to a back injury so the biggest question facing Theo Ratliff as a Minnesota Timberwolf starter is the health of his body. Ratliff recently went through serious back surgery, but has been working hard to get back on the court. His NBA career has been littered with injuries, but if Theo Ratliff can stay healthy, he could be a true asset to the Timberwolves team. Theo Ratliff has the amazing ability to force opposing players to think twice before coming down the lane and the Minnesota Timberwolves could definitely use him on the Target Center court.
Theo Ratliff has had knee injury issues in the 2007-08 season and has only played six out of the 31 games. Ratliff underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in December and he is expected to miss at least the month of January if not more. It is unfortunate for the Minnesota Timberwolves because before Ratliff went down with his injury he was averaging a solid 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 26.8 minutes. Theo Ratliff had a solid game at the Sacramento Kings on November 10 when he scored 14 points on five for seven shooting with seven rebounds and six blocks. The 12-year veteran's inside presence will be missed by Randy Wittman and the Timberwolves as long as he is out.
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