During Thursday night’s contest between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets, Clippers forward Lamar Odom tried to elevate and hammer home a powerful one-handed dunk. The problem was that Nuggets center JaVale McGee met him in the air and emphatically rejected Odom’s dunk attempts. That pretty much sums up how the 2012-2013 NBA season has gone for Odom.
With him coming back to Los Angeles, many people surmised that Odom might be revitalized this season and reattain the form that he showed during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. His play this season has been far from resurgent and more along the lines of incredibly disappointing.
Averaging just 20.4 minutes per game, Odom is averaging just 4.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting only 39.7 percent from the floor and 19.4 percent from downtown. His points per game average and field-goal percentage are both career-lows while his rebounding average and three-point percentage are the second-lowest of his career. He’s been whatever the opposite of an asset is this season.
The strange part is that head coach Vinny Del Negro chooses to play Odom in the final minutes of the game, despite the fact that he gives them little-to-no production. He likes the lineup that has Odom and Blake Griffin in the frontcourt because it allows them to somewhat play small-ball. However, it seems like he would be better suited to just play DeAndre Jordan instead of Odom. He plays better defense and has been a better offensive player than Odom this season.
If Del Negro is dead-set on playing small-ball though, why not play Grant Hill or Caron Butler as under-sized power forwards and move Griffin to the five? A lineup like that would actually give them more small-ball potential and wouldn’t have Odom on the floor basically just taking up space.
Odom was once a Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA, but those days seem long-gone. Del Negro and the Clippers need to change things up in crunch-time and let Odom have a seat on the bench. He’s played too ineffectively this season to be on the floor when the game is on the line.