This season, Lamar is averaging 16.2 points per game, his highest as a Laker, snatching 10 boards a game and shooting a blistering 59% from the field, 40% from deep, both career highs. More importantly, he’s started all year long, playing an average of 35 minutes per contest in the absence of Andrew Bynum so, the argument that he’s “only a reserve” carries absolutely no bearing. While this particular condition may soon change, it shouldn’t matter if he continues to play at this clip.
We know he’s always been a beast on the boards, but his scoring efficiency is what is truly making this a standout season for Lamar. Never before has he let the game come to him with such fluidity and ease, which is what we’ve all wanted to see for so long.
The honor of being an NBA All-Star is determined by how a player performs in the first half of the season and by all accounts of measurement and pure fact, LO has never had a stronger case to finally have the outsoles of his sneakers squeak up and down the illustrious stage.
It’s funny to think that about a year and a half ago, when the prospect of potentially losing Odom to free agency was on the fringe of becoming a regretful reality, for the first time, his value to the Lakers was truly recognized and honored.
What other big man in the league do you know that can put the ball on the deck with the precise handling of a point-guard and take his man to the rack pretty much anytime he wants?
Is this to say that he’s always played up to expectations?
Of course not.
Sure, there have been more than enough moments where Odom left all of us scratching our heads in utter frustration, but there have been many more plays and instances where he showed us all why he belongs – especially this season.
And back-to-back titles later, can you really say that we could have done it without him?
There is no other “reserve” player in this league who can start on any other team in the league and easily be a 20 and 10 guy night in and night out. That’s what makes LO so special. He is that irreplaceable steady hand that perfectly complements Hall of Famers like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in our championship mix. He doesn’t have a huge ego to check at the door nor does he need to get however many touches on offense to positively impact each game.
Personally, I can only hope that coaches around the league recognize the luminous season Lamar is having thus far and will anoint him worthy of being an All-Star. But since the politics involved in that arena guarantees nothing, Laker fans, I urge you, log onto NBA.com every chance you get and vote for him as I have been.
One way or another, Odom deserves to grace the planks of the All-Star court and what better city is there to do that for the first time in than, his own homecourt.