While The Candyman’s numbers do not match some players also on the cusp of making the all star team, Odom is still putting up outstanding numbers. As of this writing Odom is averaging 15.5 points per game along with 9.8 rebounds. Perhaps Odom’s best stat though is his field goal percentage which is a career best 56.6 percent, good for third in the NBA.
Sure players like Kevin Love and Blake Griffin have put up numbers that jump out more than LO’s, but often times, for example Al Jefferson in 2009, get punished for playing on bad teams. While the Lakers haven’t exactly played to the high standards they hold themselves to, a lot of teams would love to have their 31-12 record.
Not diminish what players like Love and Griffin are doing but these players are often the primary options for team’s that don’t win many games. Odom is often the third option in the Lakers’ offense so he simply doesn’t get the opportunities to put up the stats like other players on worse teams do. Hornets’ coach Monty Williams even went as far as to say that if Odom was more of a focal point on offense he would be an MVP candidate.
Odom has been a huge reason for the Lakers success this year as he has consistently played like an all star. As Jeff Van Gundy stated on Christmas, Odom has probably been the Lakers’ second best player this season, some would even say he has been better than Kobe at times.
Odom has also done all of the little things for the Lakers’ that does not show up in the stat books. Whether it is hustling for a loose ball or one of his signature coast to coast plays off a rebound, Lamar has done it all. He has also been very underrated on the defensive side of the ball as he has turned into one of the most versatile defenders in the league today.
Odom has also been a true professional when it comes to his role on the Lakers. Odom has been willing to play any role Phil Jackson asks of him as he has both started and came off the bench this season without complaint, which is a rarity in today’s NBA. Odom was the main reason that the Andrew Bynum’s surgery didn’t have a dramatic hindrance on the Lakers’ run for a three-peat.
While there have been many players this season who have had a great season in the NBA, it is clear that Lamar Odom should get his first all star nod. He has been a key component of two championship teams, but Odom has taken his game to a whole level this season. There are few players who can match the skill of Odom, and it’s time he gets his recognition as one of the game’s elite.