During his 2009-10 campaign, Odom’s rebounds and assists went up while his scoring and field goal percentage took a drop from the previous year. He’s not the only player whose production fluctuated throughout the season, Jordan Farmar was erratic at times, Sasha Vujacic struggled and the Lakers as a whole underperformed offensively.
“What I really want to work on is my ability to be a consistent shooter,” added Odom. “Especially with this team, we’re talking about posting the basketball and playing these big lineups, people have to double team us.”
Although Odom is likely considered the fourth or even fifth option on offense, forcing the issue and making the opposition account for him, opens up lanes for his teammates. Last season, Odom took a step away from the paint towards the perimeter, causing him to shy away on offense or take ill-advised shots. He took jumpers 51 percent of the time, a stat that should decrease significantly if the Lakers want to have any chance at achieving the illusive three-peat. Ideally the bulk of his offense would come from the block where his length and skill are more effective as opposed to shooting mid-range or perimeter jumpers.
Once Bynum recovers, the new and improved Lakers bench will make things easier for Odom. The addition of Steve Blake alleviates Odom’s role as the second unit’s designated playmaker and allows him to find his own shot (albeit begrudgingly).
Building upon what he did last year as far as rebounding, most specifically on the offensive glass provides the Lakers with cheap points. Adding Matt Barnes into the mix provides the Lakers with another rebounder, giving the second unit another layer of depth defensively. Recall the old adage that defense leads to offense. Defensive rebounds lead to fast break points, an area of strength for Odom whether he leads the break or makes the outlet pass.
Odom understands his role on the team and in order to be effective he must excel at the intangibles of the game; the stuff that can’t be measured by looking at the box score. So long as Odom’s focus tends to flow at a higher rate than it ebbs, the Lakers should be in pretty good shape.
“I’m trying, but you know I’m still a work in progress,” Odom concluded.
Truer words have never been spoken.