This past season, the San Antonio Spurs showed they could use some help in their front court, especially the services of an athletic power forward or center. Well, it seems that they will be working out a player with those skill sets, except he’s DeJuan Blair’s height.
According to Missouri power forward Ricardo Ratliffe, he has a workout set with the Spurs today. Ratliffe first tweeted that he was heading to San Antonio yesterday, and later said today would be his last workout with the Spurs.
Ratliffe plays both the power forward and center position even though he stands at 6’8. In his senior season with the Tigers, he averaged 13.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1 block, and 1.6 turnovers per game. He seems to be an efficient player as he shot 69% from the floor on the season, on just 8.7 shot attempts per game.
What does ESPN say about him?
According to ESPN, he has good skills.
- Positives: Super efficient big man, excellent finisher at the rim, moves well without the ball, soft touch around the basket, decent low post moves.
- Negatives: Lacks ideal size for his position, will turn 23 by time of the draft, no perimeter game to speak of
ESPN projects him to be either a second round pick or go undrafted, which means the Spurs could possibly land him because they have the 59th pick in the second round.
In doing some research on Ratliffe, I learned that he set the career scoring record for Central Florida as a sophomore before signing with Missouri for his last two seasons in college. After watching a few clips of him online, I can’t really make an NBA player comparison with him. From what I saw on the videos, he’s really fast for his position and has good dribbling skills, kind of like how Blake Griffin sometimes does crossovers before attacking his opponent. He’s also got a good understanding of how to score without having the ball in his hands, while he can finish on the break too.
Unfortunately, I don’t think he’d have a huge impact on the Spurs if they were to draft him because of his smaller frame. He’d be a good option at the small forward position, but that’s not his natural position, he plays in the front court. The Spurs’ tallest player is still Tim Duncan (if they re-sign him), in my opinion they still need someone over 6’10 who can have an impact defensively, but Ratliffe doesn’t seem to possess those traits.
The draft is now four days away, will Ratliffe be the player for the Spurs? Only Thursday will give us that answer.