The move from starter to secondary didn’t come as a surprise to Odom.
“It was expected,” Odom told reports after the Lakers win against the New Orleans Hornets. “That’s [Bynum’s] spot and that’s his role on the team. So it wasn’t like there was a competition for a spot or even last year or the year before when [Jackson] decided to start Drew. That’s the way it is and that’s what I expected as soon as he got back to full strength.”
If it were a competition, Odom would have made a serious case to threaten Bynum for his spot as a starter. He might have even won it with flying colors. As evidence, Odom is producing All-Star type numbers, averaging 15.9 points per game on 58-percent shooting with 9.5 rebounds.
In case you hadn’t heard, it’s okay to start using consistent and Odom in the same sentence.
Odom has even made a strong case for an All-Star bid—it would be his first, pending Laker fans go out and rock the vote.
“Trying to make the All-Star team coming off the bench is something I’ll work hard for,” said Odom. “If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. If it does, then great. It’s something to celebrate.”
So it would seem that Odom’s production doesn’t warrant him having to wait 8-10 minutes to make his first imprints on a game, perhaps he holds a skill-set that over qualifies him to come off the bench, but in this league, who starts, backs-up and finishes hardly matters. In the end, it’s all a blur and no one questions it so long as the “W” appears in favor of the Lakers on the scorecard.
“That’s the difference between championship teams,” noted Jackson. “We said it two years ago and last year, the difference is you have guys that you bring off the bench that could be starters. [Manu Ginobli has been it over the years for San Antonio. This year he is starting, but numbers of players are in that role in this league that make a difference in teams.”
Jackson had no reservation putting Odom back into a reserve role just as quickly as Bynum showed signs of his old self. Odom has accepted the duties given to him by the coaching staff with poise and little-to-no grievance. How many players do you know would put up the numbers Odom has, be rewarded with a demotion and still come out with a 24-point off-the-bench effort?
If you named five, I’d say that’s too many.