Lamar Odom could be one of the best players in the game. Could be. At 6’10”, Odom displays a capacity to handle the rock like that of his shorter brethren and the competence to drop 25 points a game. Yet, he doesn’t.
The lanky southpaw can hit the three pointer or drive past his defender with his unexpected quickness. Odom is a match up nightmare, too large for guards but too quick for forwards, allowing him the opportunity for easy buckets.
Coming into the league with the Los Angeles Clippers, Odom was named to the All-NBA Rookie team with stellar numbers. He went on to up his numbers in his sophomore campaign to 17.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 5.2 RPG. However, he never broke into stardom like some believed he would. He then left for the Miami Heat a few seasons later, teaming with a young upstart, Dwyane Wade.
Just as the Heat was finding its stride with Odom in the starting lineup, he was traded along with Caron Butler and Brian Grant to the Los Angeles Lakers for Shaq. Forced to relocate and start over again, Odom was now teamed with superstar Kobe Bryant.
The first couple of years with the Lakers, Odom never seemed comfortable in the Purple and Gold. When the Zen master, Phil Jackson, came back to LA in Odom’s second year, he attempted to pour Odom’s game into the Pippen mold. Never quite able to master the point-forward position, Odom was relocated to the bench with the additions of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Now deemed the “X-factor” in these most recent playoff series, Odom’s play can determine the outcome of games. Against the Magic, he can guard all of the Magic big men and force one of them to cover him beyond the arc.
Loaded with talent and sugar, Odom has the potential to be a perennial All-Star but he has yet to show his gifts in their entirety.