Nobody causes the occasional head-scratch gesture more than Lamar Odom. The 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward’s passing ability, length and instincts on the boards, attack off the dribble and transition game make him capable of putting up hall of fame type numbers on a nightly basis.
There’s just one problem—he doesn’t.
The one constant you’ll find in regards to Odom is fans constantly wanting to grab and shake him until he gets that he’s better than the once in a blue moon 20/10/5 stat line. The reality is Odom isn’t ever going to have that killer instinct mentality. He’s mellow, deferent and goes with the flow. It’s that same personality, however, that integrates so well with this current Lakers squad.
When Odom is engaged he gives the Lakers another dimension, if he stays aggressive throughout the season, he represents an additional offensive threat for the Lakers and a constant headache for the opposition. If he lacks focus on the floor, he looks awkward and lost leading to such travesties as say Glen Davis’ career night in game 4 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
That being said, at the risk of triggering physical ailments, it’s best to accept Odom for the player he is instead of criticizing him for the player he could be. It would be unfair to assume that Odom at times doesn’t care, clearly he does or the Lakers wouldn’t have won a title, let alone back-to-back titles.
Take a good look around the league, but it won’t be easy to find another player whose role changes on any given night. Odom’s versatility allows the coaching staff to give him different assignments on a per-game basis.
“I guess it’s my job to be prepared because from guard to forward to power forward, I always have to be ready to step in and fill any role,” said Odom during his post-season exit interview.
Before stepping into his role as one of the NBA’s most intriguing sixth men, he’ll have to fill in as a starter for the injured Andrew Bynum. Inserting Odom gives the Lakers offensive flexibility that often times is tough for the opposition to adjust to defensively. Unfortunately, it takes Odom away from the second unit where he is viewed as a leader and helps the reserves forge an identity. In the meantime, the meshing will have to wait at least until the end of November or when Bynum is 100 percent, whichever comes first.