Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lamar Odom Gives us a Taste

The NBA is back and better than ever. Make sure to head over to the home site for a full preview and expect plenty of chatter here on the blog.

While tonight is really when things begin in earnest, I hope you saw the games last night and enjoyed a flawless opener from the Bulls and an even better performance by Lamar Odom, who went for 34 and 13 and led the Lakers to a big comeback win over Phoenix. With apologies to Andrew Bynum (18 and 9 in 23 minutes for his first career start), Odom was the the story last night and beyond.

Last night reminded me of the fact that Odom is one of the most confounding players in the league. On one hand, he has a ridiculous skill set that is almost unmatched for his size. On the other, he needs the ball in his hands almost all of the time to be really, really good, and he plays on the same team as Kobe Bryant. So he's kind of being wasted.

But lest you think this is just another Kobe Hater post, understand that this would be a problem for Odom on several teams. He got along well with Wade back in 2003-04, but that was only because Wade was a rookie and hadn't taken over that team yet. Lamar would have a hard time in New Jersey where Carter needs the ball and the Nets prefer Kidd to run things (obviously). Houston (T-Mac and Yao) would be a terrible fit. So would Cleveland with LeBron, Philly with AI, Boston with Pierce, and on and on. Most teams with a really good point guard would also be wasting some of Odom's talent, since they wouldn't need him to initiate the offense ala Scottie Pippen.

He would really thrive playing on a team lacking in star perimeter players but featuring some spot up shooters and enough size to allow Odom to play both forward positions. Minny would be a good fit (the Lakers and Wolves need to swap KG and Kobe for each other - they would both be a whole lot better for it) as would Milwaukee, Orlando, Dallas (can you imagine?), and Memphis (with a healthy Gasol).

I've always liked Odom and thought he could be so much more. Last night proved that, even if it was just one game and against a bunch of matadors dressed up as basketball players.

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