When you lose the leading rebounder in the league, you need to find ways to compensate for that. If there’s one thing that Odom knows how to do well, it’s rebound. He’s already a career 8.4 rebounds per game type of player, but when asked to focus on rebounding the ball, he does it quite well with his agility and length.
Additionally, Odom’s defense has always been solid. He’s never been known as a shot-blocker or a defensive force, but his defense was crucial to the Lakers’ deep playoff runs in the sense that he guarded multiple positions from shooting guards to forwards and even centers at times.
Offensively, he’s a guy that can handle the ball, stretch the floor a bit, and pass extremely well.
Not to mention that he and Pau Gasol have a great chemistry on the court together, and seemed to elevate each others games quite a bit during the time they spent playing together.
In fact, when the Lakers won those two championships, it was usually Odom and Gasol finishing games instead of Gasol and Bynum.
Then there’s the fact that he’s one of the few players out there who has Kobe Bryant’s full respect and confidence. When you win a title alongside Bryant, you earn the Black Mamba’s respect and praise. Additionally, Kobe has always vouched for Odom and although Lamar was often the locker room’s most popular player and the one who kept everyone loose, he was never criticized for “goofing off” or joking too much, as Dwight Howard was. Odom brings a certain attitude and is willing to stick up for himself and his teammates when necessary; a mentality and edge that is needed on any successful team.
Back to basketball stuff though.
A big problem for the Lakers over the last few years has been other players besides Kobe Bryant that can create their own shot. Nash certainly helped with that last season, but Odom can still do that. We all know he’s not going to look to shoot the ball much, but he definitely has the ability to get his offense going when needed.
Many may be concerned with Odom’s age or the low stats he’s put up since leaving the Lakers, but let’s consider the numbers he last put up with the Lakers: 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists on 53.0 percent shooting from the field (a career high), and 38.2 percent shooting from three-point land (also a career high).
That was just two seasons ago, and Odom’s diminishing numbers have likely been the result of his mental state (mainly in Dallas) and his lack of use (mainly on the Clippers).
If he were to re-join the Lakers, he probably won’t average anything close to what he did in the 2010-2011 season, but I’m sure he still has some of that left in him and will have an opportunity to showcase some of that.
That brings me to another point, which if Lamar was weighing his options between the Lakers and Clippers, could sway him in direction of the Lakers.
On the Clippers, Lamar will get a chance to play for a team that’s still on the rise and has a great coach at the helm in Doc Rivers, along with the league’s premier point guard in Chris Paul. However, the Clippers are already extremely deep, and Odom likely won’t play much more than the 20 minutes he did last season. With the Lakers, although he’d have to share minutes with Jordan Hill, he’d still probably get more playing time and be more involved in the offense.