Will Replacements for Lamar Odom Be Enough to Fill The Void?

Troy Murphy: Decent outside shooter, rebounder, and all-around big body.

Murphy has averaged a double-double in a single season five times in his career. That’s the good news. The bad news is, however, the last time he did that was in 2008-’09. But no really, all jokes aside, he’s a blue-collar type player, an excellent below-rim rebounder, so he’s got active hands for easy put-backs, and while he’s got a few defensive shortcomings, his career average on 3-point shots is 38.9-percent. Oh and hey, he’s a lefty, so there’s that. Now, he does have a history of being injury-prone, which is probably why the Lakers were able to get him on the cheap. Still there’s that glimmer of hope he’ll display flashes of the player he was, before the injuries hit. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Josh McRoberts: Explosive, potential second unit playmaker.

Quick, name the last team this guy was on. Give up? Of course you do. Here’s the skinny on McRoberts (AKA “McBobs”). He’s got great court vision, likes to create plays for others, and isn’t afraid to shoot from the perimeter. Last year he hit 40.4-percent from 16-23 feet outside the rim and 38.3-percent from beyond the 3-point mark. Considering the Lakers got hardly any offense, let alone outside shooting from their bench, and lacked consistency, even when Odom was on the floor, the Lakers certainly addressed a need. McRoberts could be a better defender and a little less sloppy (he’s kind of turnover-prone), but he’s got hops and is, you guessed it, a lefty.

Metta World Peace: Most likely second unit leader(?)

Trust me, that last sentence was as hard for me to write as it was for you to read. Mike Brown’s intentions for the Lakers are becoming a little more known, a little less secret as the regular season approaches, and we now know that World Peace will come off the bench. This isn’t to say that he’ll run the Lakers second unit offense, much like Odom did, but he’ll have a hand in leading them defensively. I realize it’s been a while, but last year’s renegades weren’t the best on both ends of the floor. It had to do with Odom’s insertion into the starting lineup to start the season, a key injury to Matt Barnes, a lack of consistent offense, and perhaps less apparent, the second unit’s inability to stave off other teams from scoring at will, blowing leads in the process. With World Peace in the mix, the second unit will have a defensive edge about them, and there’s a good chance teams will have to double-up on him in the post, where he’s shown the ability to overpower defenders.

It’s very easy to say that without Odom, there’s a good chance the Lakers don’t win two titles over the last three years. That’s mostly because, without him, the Lakers wouldn’t have had anyone to start in Bynum’s place, each time he went down with injury. Now that the Lakers don’t have that luxury, they’re a little depleted, but not defeated. So much factors into winning a championship. You can have three superstars on one squad, or a bunch of role players whose individual skills come together to form a cohesive unit. While the replacements may not be able to emulate every facet of Odom’s skill set, there’s a decent chance their respective games may enhance the Lakers chances of winning another championship.

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