After the draft day trade that brought Telfair and Ratliff to Boston for Raef and Dickau, all of the hoopla went to Telfair. Virtually no mention was made of Ratliff other than the fact that he was in the Bahamas. This lack of news gave way to posts all over Celtics' boards on how Ratliff had to be part of a deal to ship him back out. After all, wouldn't they introduce him to the media if he were here to stay?
Then, Ratliff showed up. He wanted to get his kids in school and so came in a month early to work out with the team and get to know them. He brought to an end all the speculation that he was only here as part of a pre-arranged trade. Articles are springing up in all the papers about how he is working hard and teaching our young bigs how to dominate in the middle.
"I'm more of a worker than a talker," Ratliff said. "I want guys to see that I'm out here working early, and I'm going to give 110% when I'm out on the floor. I want them to realize that in order to have longevity in this league, you've gotta learn how to work."
It was suggested that the young pups may be able to push him to play harder due to having more energy thanks to their youth, but Ratliff objected. He says he hasn?t lost much in his game, and he can still run with the best of them. When he needs an advantage, he knows how to get it. He can just dip into his playbook of tricks of the trade, things that were passed down to him when he was trying to find his way in the NBA.
In other words, the "old dog" still has some old tricks, and he intends to pass them along.
This piece inspired a new group of postings about how Ratliff will bring needed toughness inside and trying to think back to the last time the Celtics had a dominant presence in the paint like this. Most of the posters were too young to remember. Now, today the Globe, Herald and MetroWest Daily all have pieces that bring new hope to the Celtics Nation.
“Whatever is required of me in terms of minutes, I feel like I can go out and do it. I feel like I’m in pretty good shape and that’s getting better. We’ve got good strength coaches and I’m enjoying working with them already. By the beginning of the season, I feel like I’m going to be more than ready to go.cw0
“I’ve got no problems,” the 33-year-old said. “My body feels great. I have no aches, no pains.”
Peter May's Piece in the Globe also centers around Ratliff. Ratliff had asked for a trade out of Portland and is happy to be here in Boston. He is looking forward to being an example for the young players, but also adding a defensive presence to the team with his play on the floor.
He may be the so-called ``veteran presence," but Ratliff prefers to let his work do the talking. The more the players see how dedicated he is, the more he hopes it will filter down to what also is a very young group of players. (He already is a member of the Ryan Gomes fan club.)
``Guys respect me and my work ethic and see what I do," he said. ``It's a natural process. I got a lot of that when I came into the league and hopefully I can give these guys some wisdom on and off the floor."
May also lets us know that many of the remaining players will be coming in this week.
The rest of the Celtics who have yet to show up for pre-training camp workouts at the team's gulag, er, training facility should start arriving this week. Telfair is due in tomorrow, and Wally Szczerbiak also is expected in this week. Paul Pierce, who reports his elbow is feeling fine, is due in either this week or next, as is Brian Scalabrine
And Scott Souza, who has kept us informed of what has been going on with the Celtics, even when the other papers had nothing, had a good piece in the MetroWest Daily this morning.
Ratliff is not only here to mentor the kids but he is out there working with them and leading by example.
Ratliff played five of the four-on-four games before the gang called it quits. Only it wasn't really quitting time yet. They then headed to the weight room for a short lifting and stretching session. After going along with the routine, he was again ready to wrap it up when he noticed his teammates march to a line of stationary bikes.
"What now?" he questioned with a laugh.
Ratliff took one step toward the bikes, then shook his head and turned around.
After 11 years in the NBA, you earn the right in September to decide when you've just about done enough for one day.
And our young players are taking notice of his work ethic and what he brings to the team.
While Ratliff said he was studying his new running mates during the pickup games, the youngsters -- who were in elementary and middle schools when Ratliff debuted with the Detroit Pistons in 1995 -- were taking notes as well.
"You can definitely see how he attacks the ball on defense," second-year center Dwayne Jones noted. "His defensive timing is still superb. You see how he jumps right on the ball."
"He can block shots and he can play defense," Powe said. "Every team needs that. He's been a big defensive threat - like a Ben Wallace or something - a major presence in the middle.
All of this should give Celtics' fans a lot to look forward to.
Even if he doesn't start ( I hope and expect Perk to start) he will have a major impact on the young guys as far as example go's and as well as teach them a few tricks of the trades. It never hurts having experienced vets on your squad who lead by positive example.
Thanks Esco... While Theo states that his goal is to start, I believe that he will happily play whatever role is needed from him and he will realize that coming off the bench could extend his career. Raef complained to the press whenever he was brought off the bench and so just in that sense, I think we are so much better off with Ratliff than with Raef.
Wow, this throws an interesting wrinkle in my thoughts for this season. I wasn't banking on Ratliff giving us much playing time, since he seems so injury prone. But last season, he had 2 ankle injuries due to stepping on other player's feet, and those are freak accidents. Had he played most of last season injury free, I would have had a different outlook of his probable contributions for us this season. But now that I know they were freak accidents, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he can be a healthy player for us.
Plus, he'll be working with Clifford Ray, and this could be huge.