For many NBA players, the summer season is the perfect time of year to go fishing – some obviously taking more trips than others. For Lamar Odom and the rest of Team USA however, those two to three months that we all look forward to year-round, were spent collecting gallons of sweat in the name of continuing this country’s reinstitution of dominance in basketball worldwide. On the heels of winning one of the most dramatic NBA Finals to date, Odom immediately embraced a role of leadership on a team where he was all of a sudden, one of the old guys.
Not only was Lamar essentially asked to set the tone in the locker room and practice by Coach K, he was also asked to play heavy minutes as the team’s center following a string of injuries and unforeseen circumstances.
If it was indeed the case that LO did not truly realize just how far he could go as a basketball player, the road could not have been paved any clearer for the most versatile big man in the game today – maybe even ever.
Granted, the numbers, 7.1 ppg and 7.7 rpg in nine games, aren’t going to force anyone to bat an eyelash, but he did shoot 53% from the field and we have to keep it all in proper context.
This past summer’s 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal team featured to-be perennial All-Stars such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose.
Again, Lamar was picked for the team due to his invaluable experience of having played in mega playoff series en route to winning back-to-back NBA titles.
By nature, he is a cool customer on the court, always remaining calm and collected in the face of adversity, perhaps a product of enduring heavy trials and tribulations throughout his life.
With fellow NBA veteran and champion Chauncey Billups by his side as the other senior member leading the way for a very young Team USA squad, Lamar and his more youthful cohorts captured the gold medal against host country, Turkey. The victory capped off what currently stands as the best year of basketball in his career.
Aforementioned stud point-guards Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are having All-Star seasons and other Team USA players such as Kevin Love, Rudy Gay and Eric Gordon are having comparably outstanding seasons.
So is Odom. In fact, he’s playing the best basketball of his entire career.
While he only speaks on the matter when the question is proposed, if Lamar is ever going to be an NBA All-Star, the honor that has evaded him forever while even the likes of Mo Williams has gained de facto admission, that time is now.
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