Comparing Lakers Benches: 2009-10′ vs 2010-11′

Lamar Odom

There’s only one word that separates Odom’s 2010-11 campaign with last season’s and that word is consistency. In terms of guys coming off the bench, few deliver what Odom brings to the Lakers. He can play any of the five positions on the court, go coast-to-coast on a fast-break and has the ability to create his own shot or facilitate shots for his teammates. Odom’s versatility puts him above the rest and makes him instrumental in the Lakers’ championship title hopes.

This season he’s averaged 14.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, while shooting at a high 53.8-percent. His point and shooting percentage are significantly higher than last year’s and it’s all due in large part to the consistent effort he brings each night on the court.

Outside of Odom being consistent, he’s benefited from playing alongside players with a pass-first mentality. That’s something that lacked from last year’s list of reserves. Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic were mostly interested in finding their own shots, at times leaving the Lakers’ number one advantage—their interior size—by the wayside. With Barnes and Blake the ball moves around more, creating opportunities for open shots and keeps the opposing defense on their toes.

Advantage: 2010-11’ Odom

Shannon Brown

Mostly known for his high-flying dunks, Brown set out to prove this season that he also had a jump-shot and could shoot from long range. This was much more apparent at the start of the season when Brown started off hot with an above-average shooting percentage. He cooled off slightly, went through a mid-season slump and is starting to settle into some consistency.

Last year, this wasn’t always the case. Brown struggled at times with his jump-shot, never really giving the Lakers any help with perimeter shooting. In order for the renegades to be effective, Brown has to step-up when needed and provide the Lakers with quality minutes while Kobe isn’t on the floor. Perhaps that’s easier said than done, but in Bryant’s absence Brown can provide athleticism and quickness in running the break, can take to the basket collapsing the defense and finding the open man or make shots from long range.

He’s been doing a good job of it for the most part, save a few mental mistakes along the way. Most importantly for the Lakers, having evolved and added to his game from the previous year teams will have to either pay more attention to him or pay the consequence should he burn them on offense.

Upgrade from 2009-10′? Definitely.

Next: The Lakers finally find an effective sub for Fisher

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