The move may not affect the Spurs current rotation, mainly because Ratliff hardly played, but the Spurs lost a player that can provide some defensive presence on the floor. Yes, Ratliff is an aging veteran, but he can still block some shots and his defensive ability could have been useful for short stretches.
With that being said, the Spurs’ defensive inconsistency continues to be a major concern.
However, with Ratliff’s departure along with Marcus Haislip back overseas, this has left roster spots open for the Spurs.
The Spurs could very well carry on with the current lineup, but it could be a hint of things to come. For example, last season the Spurs made a move by signing Drew Gooden to bolster their frontcourt.
This year, if they can find a player that is good enough to help them for the stretch run, they could use a similar strategy.
It could be a player released by other teams but how about looking at a player on their own backyard? Their D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros.
On the current Austin Toros roster, there are some players that can potentially join the Spurs and may actually have an impact. I’m talking about Dwayne Jones and Alonzo Gee.
Dwayne Jones can address some of the Spurs’ immediate concerns, namely defense and rebounding. Although the Spurs have young big man Ian Mahinmi, he has yet to realize his potential and still hasn’t earn Coach Popovich’s trust or playing time.
Dwayne Jones on the other hand, has been pretty impressive playing in the D-League. In 31 games with the Toros this year, he is averaging 16.5 points, 15.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks on 61.2% shooting from the field in 38.5 minutes of action.
Just recently, the Dallas Mavericks expressed interest in Dwayne Jones to fill the vacancy at the center position because of Erick Dampier’s injury. However, they abandoned the idea of signing him to a 10-day contract after flying him in from Austin for an afternoon workout.
He also had some NBA experience playing for teams like the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Bobcats. His size and defensively ability could be intriguing for the Spurs and at age 27, he might just earn Coach Pop’s vote of confidence.
Alonzo Gee is a scorer and a good rebounder for his size. He has great strength, leaping ability and is very aggressive attacking the basket.
He has solid averages of 20.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 50% shooting in 37.6 minutes of playing time in 31 games with the Austin Toros.
Maybe his aggressiveness can add more punch on the Spurs’ bench.
These are not earth shaking moves. But with other teams getting better in the West, the Spurs will need all the help they can get.
Nevertheless, if the Spurs do make a move by looking at the talent on the Toros squad, the question remains: will Coach Gregg Popovich will be willing to take some risk, give these younger players some significant playing time and allow them to showcase what they can bring to a veteran team like the Spurs?
What are your thoughts? Are Dwayne Jones and Alonzo Gee worth a shot or should the Spurs wait later in the season and look for some veteran help? Tell us what you think.