Player Report Card: Lamar Odom

It’s been a busy year for Lamar Odom. Between his endorsement deals, new reality show, new fragrance and of course his role with the Lakers, LO’s profile was higher than ever. Some thought all the media attention might distract from the basketball court, but if anything, it only seemed to have him locked in even more.

Regular Season Grade: A

Simply put, in 2010-11 Lamar Odom played the most the efficient basketball of his entire career. The 14 points and 9 rebounds per game were nothing beyond the norm for him but his shooting proficiency (53% from the field, 38% from three) was at a career high level, highlighted by the month of December where he average 17 points, 8.5 boards and 2.5 assists on a torrid 59% shooting.

One of the marvels of Odom’s game is his ability to seamlessly shift from from starter to reserve, and this was on full display in 2011. After slotting in as the starting power forward for the first 2 months of the season, he selflessly went to the bench, yet continued his stellar play, garnering media praise and  serious All-Star consideration in the process.

While he didn’t quite make the cut as an All-Star, Odom still had his shining moments. In what was perhaps the Lakers most exciting game of the season, Odom had 29 points, sixteen rebounds and 5 assists in a triple overtime thriller against the Phoenix Suns on March 22nd.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-HcH2o5-1o

For all his his work Odom did finally receive recognition in the end, earning the Sixth Man of The Year award as the NBA’s best substitute. All in all, an outstanding year for Odom.

Playoff Grade: B-

Like virtually all of the Lakers players, Lamar’s postseason numbers were a significant drop off from his regular season levels. While he wasn’t as absent as Gasol proved to be, Lamar didn’t assert himself in the way the Lakers needed, averaging only 12 points and 6.5 boards over the Lakers 10 playoff games.

There are some who question whether Odom’s extracurricular activities, specifically the reality show, were a cause for his seemingly distracted play. It’s a legitimate point to bring up, but the truth is none the Lakers were at their best. In the end, it led to an embarrassing exit for all of them.

Overall Grade: A-

It’s hard to argue with the Sixth Man hardware, regardless of how things shaped up in the playoffs. Lamar has had some pretty good seasons with the Lakers but this was by far his best and will probably go down as the closest he ever got to be being an NBA All-Star.

However, as Odom implied in his exit interview, for all the individual success he had this season, the team’s failures seem to be what are sticking with him. Look for a motivated and selfless player to be ready for the start of 2011-12.

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