Let’s be honest with ourselves, Lamar Odom has not turned into the All-Star we all wanted him to be and has had constant pressure on himself to be Kobe’s “Scottie Pippen”. But, with the trade of Pau Gasol and the emergence of Andrew Bynum, Lamar can finally relax and let the game come to him. He is now at best the 3rd option and has shown he is more relaxed in Gasol’s first few games with the Lakers.
There have been many fans saying that Odom should be traded because once Bynum comes back he will not be comfortable at the small forward position mainly because Odom is not a perimeter shooter and his rebounding will drop because he will not be playing down on the block.
Also, there have been questions as to what he will do when he has to guard the opponent’s 3 man who is quicker than him. I have heard all of the criticism and questions and believe that Lamar Odom will be fine when he moves over to the 3 position.
First, Odom is one of the most athletic players in the game today and has played multiple positions throughout his career.
Who remembers when the Clippers played him at point guard?
Lamar is a player who can rebound on the defensive end and run the entire floor and score. It never hurts to have a tall player in your lineup that can do that. Lamar also pushes the ball on the break and looks to get other players involved. Especially now with Gasol, he will be looking to set up his teammates more and more and does not have to worry about scoring. We all know Odom is a triple-double waiting to happen and can fill up the stat sheet, partly because of his athletic ability.
Second, Odom’s rebounding is key for this team to go anywhere in the playoffs. Bynum might not be 100% until next season and Gasol is not known for his rebounding. Odom shows that tenacity to hit the boards and has the desire to help out the team in that capacity. Gasol is also not always going to be down on the block because he has a mid-range jump shot that he can use at any point.
Bynum and Odom did not have trouble splitting the rebounds during Bynum’s great start to the season before his injury. Rebounding is something that is key to winning championships. Look at the Chicago Bulls championships in the late 1990s. Dennis Rodman was a rebounding machine for them, which was key for them to win. I feel that Odom can be the rebounding player on the court at any point in the game.
Third, Odom does play good defense, not great defense. I know he will be playing against quicker type players then when he was playing the 4 position, but Lamar does have the ability to keep those players in check. I am not saying he will shut them down, but he will do a good job. I mean Luke Walton is not the best defensive player in the world and he was starting at the 3 for almost 2 seasons. Also, having a frontcourt of Odom, Gasol and Bynum will be pretty hard to stop and one of the biggest frontlines of all time.
As of right now, there is no need to trade Odom for a more traditional small forward because we have not seen him play with Gasol and Bynum. He will flourish when the team is completely healthy because he will not be pressured to score points. He can just sit back wait for the opposing teams to double on Bynum or Gasol and just wait for the easy points to come to him. He can focus more on his rebounding and passing abilities to set up his teammates for easy shots. Not only will this help the Lakers as a team, but it will cause mismatches for the opponents.
Now that the pressure is off Lamar Odom, he can finally loosen up and play to his strengths, even at the 3.