Lamar Odom Finally Gets the Recognition he has Earned

When Lamar Odom was drafted with the 4th overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1999 he came with high expectations. The versatility of Odom even drew some comparisons to Magic Johnson.

As a Clipper Odom played well as he was named to the NBA’s All Rookie team, but controversy eventually clouded Odom’s Clipper tenure.  In 2001 Odom was suspended for violating the league’s drug policy, which was believed to be for marijuana.

Odom then left the City of Angels for South Beach as he joined the Miami Heat. He was effective for Miami but was traded after just one season there in the mega deal that sent Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat.

As a Laker, Odom came with high hopes once again, as many Lakers fans saw Odom as Kobe Bryant’s potential Scottie Pippen-like sidekick. In his first three seasons with the Lakers injuries and inconsistency foiled Odom’s play.

“There was a point in my career where I think people were ready to call me an underachiever,” Odom said.

Odom was indeed the center of much trade talk, but in 2008 the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol and Odom’s role was changed. No longer did LO have to be the sidekick, now he could just provide a little bit of everything, perfect for a versatile player like Odom.

Odom has since excelled in this role, often being seen as the Lakers’ X-Factor during the Lakers’ back-to-back championships which came in 2009 and 2010. While Odom was a double-double machine during this time period, consistency was still an issue, until now.

The 2010-2011 season has marked Odom’s best to date, which is why he was given the recognition as the NBA’s best sub. Whether it be starting or coming off of the bench, Odom has appeared in all 82 games for the Lakers, quite the feat for a player who used to have trouble staying healthy. In those games Odom has averaged nearly 15 points and 9 rebounds per contest while shooting career best percentages from the floor and from beyond the arc.

Whether Odom’s great play this season has been the result of his World Championships experience or another factor remains to be seen, but many would say that Lamar Odom has been the most consistent Laker this season. Aren’t you glad the Lakers didn’t pull the trigger on one of those rumored trades involving him?

So in the midst of his journey for a third championship, it seems as if Lamar has finally brought all of “The Goods” to the table, and has been rewarded for it, but these rewards did not come without sacrifice.

Next: Individual Sacrifices lead to team success
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