Earlier this pre-season, there was a big fuss about Lamar Odom possibly becoming the Lakers' sixth man. Odom initially bristled at such suggestions, stating that he had never come off the bench in his entire career. Fast forward a month later, and Odom is on board with the move.
The change of heart was fueled by the realization that Phil Jackson is still going to give L.O. starter minutes, and the fact that Odom probably fits in better with the up-tempo style of the second unit than half-court style of the first. Odom also realized that he has a chance to be a part of a potential championship team, and that it would be unwise to muck that up over his desire to start -- especially when he's still going to be playing big minutes.
This move automatically makes Odom a contender for sixth man of the year.
Odom is at his best when he doesn't have pressure to deliver night in and night out. We saw how much better Lamar played last season when Pau Gasol arrived and took a lot of the focus off of Lamar. Lamar will now be matched up against second-string power forwards for big chunks of the game. That match-up weighs heavily in favor of the Lakers.
As well, the second unit for the Lakers is filled with talented cats that fit in with Lamar's skill set. Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic all like to apply pressure on defense, and get out and push the ball on offense. Lamar will thrive playing next to those three.