The Los Angeles Clippers knew they were taking a gamble on Lamar Odom when they traded for him in the off-season. He was coming off of the worst year of his NBA career statistically with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging just 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game last season.
The Clippers were hoping to get the guy who won the 2010-2011 NBA Sixth man of the Year Award, but his appearance in training camp said otherwise. He came into training camp overweight and out of shape. However, head coach Vinny Del Negro knew that Odom would need to be a big part of this team during the season, so he made sure to slowly work him back into shape.
He sat Odom out for most of the preseason, hoping to get him into shape for the start of the regular season. The regular season finally got under way and Odom didn’t look like anything close to the guy that he used to be, but that guy is still there and the Clippers know it.
The Clippers have seen flashes of that guy over the last couple of games. In a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night he made an appearance. It was on a missed jumper by one of his Clippers teammates, when Odom came running down the lane and had a monster put back dunk. Everyone at the Staples Center went crazy and for the first time he finally looked like the guy that he once was.
In Saturday’s 116-81 blowout win over the Sacramento Kings he had his best performance of the season. The one thing that has made Odom so special during his 13 year NBA career is his versatility as a player. He has a rare ability at 6’10 to do a countless amount of things on a basketball court and on Saturday he put that on display. Odom finished the game with six points, five rebounds, and five assists off of the bench. That might not seem like such a great game, but it’s a big step forward for Odom.
Over the last couple of games he looks to be regaining the confidence that he will need going forward and that’s huge for the Clippers. The numbers don’t backup that he’s going to be the guy that he used to be, averaging just 1.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game so far this season. However, these numbers don’t tell the whole story.
If you have watched Odom play this season you know that he has done the little things, which could definitely determine the outcome of some games. He has been the guy fighting for loose balls and making those extra effort hustle plays. Those are the little things that have kept him on the basketball court this season and that’s the guy he is right now.
The Clippers have to be pretty confident that Odom is going to help them this season, especially with these recent flashes of his old self. It’s especially good to see that this team hasn’t given up on him and that may pay off for them in the long run.
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