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Lamar Odom's participation in 2010 FIBA World Championships could prove critical in early season

Walking across the Lakers' practice court during the team's media day literally signified Lamar Odom's first step into the 2010-2011 season.

It didn't just mark the first time Odom would see the assembled reporters since his exit interview a week after the Lakers' 2010 title run. It also served as the first time Odom had actually been in the Lakers facility itself, thanks to a busy offseason. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol abstained from the 2010 FIBA World Championships, while  Odom helped Team USA to its first gold-medal victory since 1994.  While Andrew Bynum underwent a controversial surgery on his right knee after traveling to the World Cup in South Africa, Odom avoided surgery on his left shoulder and traveled to Turkey with Team USA.

Once Odom stood near center court, he was met with contradictory questions that appropriately resemble Odom's contradictory state of being. As Odom shared how he feels "blessed," "lucky" and "fortunate" for winning the 2010 FIBA World Championship, a reporter remarked Odom's "got to feel a little tired after all this." Although Odom said his left shoulder "feels good" and that he's managed to rest for the past two weeks, he revealingly described his energy level as "OK." And lastly, Odom enters the 2010-2011 season in a mixed state about his overall game itself.

He's only three weeks removed from mastering the starting center role for Team USA, providing hustle points and showcasing locker-room leadership. Those three qualities prompted Coach Mike Krzyzewski to speak fondly of Odom to Bryant, who then concluded Odom "has a great chance" to make the 2012 London Olympic team. But Odom's also a summer removed from displaying inconsistent postseason performances, followed with the Lakers' front office considering dumping Odom's salary, The Times' Mark Heisler reported.

The contradictions extend toward Phil Jackson's attitude about Odom. Never shy to needle Odom when he feels he hasn't reached his potential, Jackson so far in training camp hasn't pulled punches. He joked Odom has "deconditioned" since playing for Team USA. He teasingly accused Odom of remaining distracted with his one-year anniversary with reality TV star Khloe Kardashian. And he has kidded that he'll play Odom at center, his position with Team USA. But with Jackson expecting Bynum to miss the entire pre-season and at least two to three weeks of the regular season, Jackson acknowledged that Odom will likely start in Bynum's place.

"You never know where a coach or a team is going and where they have to use you," Odom said. "That's a role I had to fulfill [with Team USA] to get our goal accomplished."

For the sake of building continuity among his teammates and carrying over his success with Team USA, Odom's pre-season should provide a few answers on how his always versatile skill-set will fit in with a talented lineup filled with newcomers. Jackson doesn't expect Odom to play much at center, considering Team USA's up-tempo style sharply differs from the Lakers' triangle offense. But Odom's versatility should prove especially valuable considering Gasol will assume a heavier workload in Bynum's absence, Jackson's not sure what an untested Derrick Caracter will provide and Jackson doesn't want to load too many minutes on 37-year-old veteran Theo Ratliff. And the increased load could afford Odom an opportunity to play more at small forward, a position he wants to assume more this season since he believes it'll give him more opportunities to contribute.

Even if Odom admits part of his early season success will be predicated on his energy level, he isn't planning on dialing it down. Unlike most of his teammates who have recently worked out following a relaxing summer, he entered the Lakers facility on Media Day rested after a busy off-season.

"I don't think too much will change," Odom said. "I'd rather keep my engine on and practice as hard as I can," Odom said. "I'll be all right. I go after it pretty hard. I'm pretty sure that if I need the rest or get fatigued, Phil will understand."

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 
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The most consistent thing about Lamar is his level of mellow. He never seems to get too excited about anything and seems to understand that he gets to PLAY basketball and get paid vast amounts of money to do so. Any drama these days is going to be something created by the media or his agent.

Ya just gotta love Lamar...

JR

good morning fam. hope everyone is having a fantastic day.

so, kobe whines to the refs all the time. the refs don't call fouls for kobe like they do for the rest. kobe whines cause he doesn't get the calls, he doesn't get the calls cause he whines. my question is what started all of it?

I am so upset right now I can't think straight.

I just heard that Kwame sprained his ankle and will be out 4-6 weeks.

You know what this means, right???

On his opening night, we will be deprived of the joy, the ecstasy of seeing those magnificent golden calves. *SOB*

Somewhere, Mike T is weeping uncontrollably and screaming into the darkness "WHY???? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD - WHY???"

LOL! You are funny damnit!

I watched all 3 hours of training camp yesterday, and loved every single second of it. I just wish that when the guys and/or Phil were talking, that Norm and his sidekick would have been a little quieter LOL! I wanted to hear what they were saying more than watch them do their drills, but it was all great.

Hubby laughed when he saw me watching practice, not a game, practice - and asked me if I was learning the triangle. Of course I told him I could teach the new guys a thing or 2... LOL!

It surprised me how much of their training camp is just basic drills. Fundamentals. I really was expecting more smoke & mirrors - hocus pocus - something more zen.... As I watched, I came to realize that fundamentally strong players make a fundamentally strong, championship team. Go figure.

I've got to say I'm really looking forward to this season. This team is better than last year's, and barring injury, I see no reason why they won't 3-peat. We've got everything any other team has, but we've also got the chemistry and the championship experience. I think that's where the Lakers have drawn their line in the sand. And that's why I expect # 17 this June.

Good Morning Laker Family...

LO is a happy man...one year anniversary...FIBA gold...and no LO bashing because AB has deflected the issue...which usually is about LO...

Last year at this time...it was LO...should we sign him...should we give the inconsistent dude more chances to aggravate us...is he smart enough...does he deserve it...

What a difference a year makes...But don't relax too much Lamar...One bad game and the LO hunters will be back in force...

So is the nature of the game...many fickle fans who are hard to please...who are quick to criticize...who are never happy...

I am excited about this years unit...I am thankful for my Purple and Gold...and I can dwell on so many things, besides AB being mature enough, or LO not being consistent...

Peeps there are so many more positive things about our team than negative...why do people insist on talking about the few issues that are negative...I mean who is next on the whipping post...Sasha?

I saw on the news how the media frenzy has started about the Heat...How our Lakers are being disrespected by a unit who has not won one game...Now this is what ruffles my feathers...not AB should of got surgery sooner, or he is not the smartest, or he is immature...

I said it last year, after game 4 of the Thunder series...and I will say it again...
Andrew Bynum will be a big part of our success...he will contribute...and he will make a difference...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation

#17 Coming Up...

Justa,

>>> fundamentally strong players make a fundamentally strong, championship team.

I, too, caught quite a bit of the practice. Yes, Norm and his sidekick were more annoying than helpful.

Your point about fundamentals was exactly what I got out of it. I loved it when during Brian Shaw's interviews, one of the things he most praised PJ for was indeed the emphasis on fundamentals.

All the zen, all the bells and whistles rely on fundamentals. What a team! It's great to be a Lakers fan.

Mamba - Good Morning. Where's our roll call? So your roll call is energy boost.

Lamar is Lamar. I expect nothing more nothing less. Well okay, I do expect more in the playoffs this year.


justa - over the years I've hung at practices, been in practices, etc., and it always does come down to fundamentals (for any sport). It's funny how often the pros forget. Kobe talkin' 'bout game 7 of the finals, coming together as a team and just running the game plan. You'd think everyone in pro sports would understand that, eh?

That's why I like Steve Blake's response about the triangle where he was talking about repetition. THAT'S a pro's mindset. It has to become muscle memory, and the fact that he's so aware of it is great.

I think Ron's hesitation last season, the fact that he was so frickin' wide open all the time he actually had to THINK was problematic... it wasn't just a reflex. Less thinking Ron, more instinct.

I do believe that with the level of understanding of the triangle that you're developing and coupled with your leadership abilities (shown on the blog) and that you're funny, the Lakers FO might consider you when PJ steps down. And, you might get to the ASG that way.

My song for today is for Drew...because he truly can be that beast we want him to be...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84uWGVAcKR4

Good Morning justa...

This is for you...

Number Seventeen..
Purple and Gold in pursuit...
I like our chances...

Regarding Bynum, couldn't help but notice Kevin Ding pour more gasoline on the fire.

http://bit.ly/dtzjZk

It'll be a long time till this controversy goes away.

Justa - well said. I watched it too. I knew PJ did most of his work during practices and camp so it was good to actually see his activity. It's so different during the games. But that's the beauty of it.

All of the players seem really mellow to me. I think that might just be the "ugh" of media day. Since they are headed over the pond, it appears the focus will be soloely on the bench guys and giving them the miinutes. The "stars" will probably play 1st and 4Q and that's about it.

PJ is talking so much about easing everyone back in and giving guys the time to heal and gear up slowly. He has always said this is a marathon. And this year even more so given age/miles on our starters.

I am preparing myself for the marathon of the season as well. I am ready for a few mind boggling games (i.e. losses). But I think there will be a steady progression as has become PJ's trademark. And that is where I will keep focus.

It will all come together in a beautiful symphony around June and we will all be very happy once again. Eyes on the prize but also eye of the tiger!!!

Cheers - PLG

Gotta love what Blake is bringing to the table. Extra early to prep work on learning the triangle, High BB IQ, and a player who's head is exactly in the right place. What a huge pickup by Mitch. 'Course, Steve wanted to be here.
Hope we start hearing good reports on Barnes.

LRob - here is my thought on the whole AB, and the story that wouldn't go away...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nREmdfQGpGs

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation

#17 Coming Up...

MM - you know I think you do a fabulous job, right? You've taken this blog to new heights, and all your hard work has been much appreciated by everyone here. You're a dedicated blog god, and we all love you.

That being said, I was sorely disappointed this past season that you failed to post a link to an iconic blog favorite. If you'll check back to when you first started, you'll notice I gave you this link, and told you that it should be put into a post once in awhile over the course of the year to keep the regulars happy. You have failed miserably in this regard.

Now I'm not saying that you can't come back from this gross error. Redemption is possible, my friend. You just need to make sure you keep in mind the needs of the masses and give the people what they want. Here is the link, Mark. Please - for you sake as well as ours - use it once in awhile. You'll be happy if you do (and sorry if you don't).

Enjoy peeps!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMO8Pyi3UpY

Rick - thanks for the article.

Something I've felt before and am feeling more now is that Drew's "people"/handlers and support group aren't doing too well.

First: this doctor keeps "finding" stuff while in surgery. Isn't this the guy who missed a tear once before? Time for a new Lakers recommended doc if you ask me. Then keeping the FO in the dark (according to the article) about the increased complications of the surgery. Who's minding the store here?

Second: Drew's responses to things. Who's keeping Andrew aware of spin? He's in the frickin' NBA, he claims he wants to be an All-Star, he's the starting center on the back-to-back (and hopefully another back or two) Lakers, and no one has sent him to PR school? Seriously - I see this a lot in Hollywood, and when it happens to a young superstar I'm working with, I pull them aside and tell them the "facts of PR life" in terms of media perception. Then I give them the number of a good handler. And then I make sure they go meet the handler. Who's doing this for Drew?

Someone has to get it through Drew's head that this is a profession and should be handled professionally. Maybe Luke can sit him down and 'splain how Drew (or any NBA player) is only one injury away of the end of their career. It can happen THAT fast.

Right now I' m blaming the handlers and support group Drew has around him (don't even get me started on Lebron's people!). When I look at how Kevin Durant handles things, I go: That's the way! I'm not sure if Durant has the 1000 yard stare of Kobe or MJ, but even without that, he comes across as a pro: hard worker, less talk more do, wants the prize instead of the fluff. Drew could appear that way as well if handled correctly. Where is the support telling him how to handle all this?

"If we play up to our potential, there is no reason we cannot win 75 - 82 games during the regular season."

@JohnnyP-
I agree that if we play up every game e could win that many. But I also think you have to account for injuries, I mean our core has been to 3 straight finals which takes a big toll on players. Also, every team every year has at least a few "bad" games. Games where shots aren't falling, energy is low, back to backs, long road trips, etc. happen every year. That should account for usually at least 10 losses. The fact is the 72 win Bulls record will be next to impossible to break. I believe we can finish between 70 and 80 wins, but will finish between 63 and 73.

Rick - my BFF - I haven't said it yet (don't hate me) but - WELCOME BACK!!!!!! Good to see you coming around again.


63 Footer - if that happens (the taking over for PJ part - not the ASG part) hell will be frozen over and a star will be rising in the east LMAO! Now the ASG on the other hand.... all I can say is it's a done deal. MM knows he wants to take me. He'll make it happen. He's looking forward to it!


Lew - ahhhh grasshopper - you are coming ever so much closer to being able to snatch the pebble from my hand. Stay focused, little one. You will one day reach your goal.

Lamar, Lamar who have assumed so many titles in his career: the 6th man, the crack guy from Clippers, the all around utility man, the chocolate man, the reality TV taco guy, the lakers-switch cocky holder and now, the FIBA gold safe guard....if there will be a noticeable change within the Lakers mojo, it will emanate from Lamar. I believe the FIBA tournament was a wake-up call for him and good therapy from lackadaisical'ism. If Lamar could extend his court leadership the way he managed his FIBA teammates, watch out Odom-Gasol-Ratliff-Caracter will bring Lakers to great heights never been realized in NBA. No more debates on Drew's availability, the latter could further extend his vacation all the way to ASG. He could take his time and enjoy his rehab on the bench.

PS. ArtFL, with regards to fee to blog idea, provided there is a raffle chances for participants to win a lower box seat during home games, I'll join. Problem will be the out of town bloggers like you, you have to fly from Florida, spend for a car rental/hotel for one night event. Do you know ever since the interactive and social media have been created, techno guys together with head honchos and board members have been brainstorming how to raise money from internet users? Bill Gates showed them how, by constantly updating software. Therefore, once they're successful on this fee to blog, fee to refresh will also follow. We don't know now where it will lead to cuz' we created a new monster. LMAO!

Laker Tom: “For a kid just 23, he is uncommonly intelligent with a great work ethic and competitive spirit.”
~
Rick Friedman: “How can you make such a blanket statement? What FACTS is it based on? Uncommonly intelligent would suggest an IQ over 120. Have you seen Drew's test score? How do you define "competitive spirit." More competitive than who? Kobe? LeBron? Oh, yes, and "kid?" He's been in the NBA for five years. Calling Drew a "kid" suggests he gets a free ride on the short yellow school bus. Playing in the NBA for five years makes you a man with the responsibilities of a man.”
~
Good morning, Rick. I based my opinion of Drew’s “uncommon” intelligence on the same criteria that I base my opinion of your own “uncommon” intelligence, namely listening to what he had to say over the last five years and using those comments to evaluate how smart I thought he was. As with you, I didn’t know his IQ or what his SAT scores were but, as with you, it’s not difficult to see that the young man is very smart.
~
But being smart does not negate immaturity or naiveté when it comes to dealing with the media. Nor does it mean that he never makes the wrong decision or says something stupid, especially when put in a defensive position and asked to comment on a hypothetical situation by the media, just as your being smart does not mean that you are always right and never passionately overreact to a player’s comment, especially after the player risked his future and career by playing hurt in order to help his team win back-to-back titles.
~
As for competitive, nobody is as competitive as Kobe but I would take the heart that Drew showed playing hurt in the Finals and toughing it out for his team even though he was damaging his knee further than the heartless playoffs performance by LeBron James who basically quit on his team and then his franchise. As for my comments about Drew being a kid, I don’t think there is any question that on this veteran and star laden team, he IS still a kid and one who has less real basketball experience than our two 2nd round draft picks.
~
We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one, Rick. Regardless, I still think you are one of the smartest and best bloggers we have, even if I don’t have any “proof” in the form of your IQ or SAT scores. :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

@LEWSTERS… One of the greatest Beatles songs ever. Thanks, Lew.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Laker Tom,

Flattery will get you everywhere. :) Being able to disagree without being disagreeable is the hallmark of classy.

KEVIN DING NEW COMMENTS ABOUT DREW…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Yet for as much worthwhile debate has come out of Bynum's decision, the whole thing doesn't even qualify as real controversy when compared to the Lakers' usual landscape of drama.
~
Basically, Bynum acted a lot like a 22-year-old, which he is and isn't surprising to anyone who knows him. He has improved his work ethic considerably in recent years, but he has never been one the Lakers look toward for dependability.
~
If Kobe Bryant at 22 is the barometer, yes, Bryant was already a dedicated professional by then – except he was also creating his own kinds of drama and distractions at that age when the Lakers were going for their last third consecutive championship.
~
For this stuff with Bynum to be the major snag in the team's fabric shows more than anything what a period of harmony is being enjoyed in Lakerland.
~
Ultimately, the Lakers can't even argue too vehemently with a doctor saving cartilage in this so-injury-prone right knee attached to the team's $57.2 million investment. There is a very real chance that a shorter season for Bynum will pre-empt the occurrence of a major injury before the playoffs, and the Lakers can hope that rookie Derrick Caracter unbottles his considerable promise while Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Theo Ratliff hold up.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

justa - My deepest apologies. Look for the link in random posts for now on!

My friend LT, did Drew take SAT? What I understood he directly went to NBA in 2005, no need of SAT. It's hard to gauge "uncommon intelligence" because we have a tendency to give also "uncommon" opinion. What happens to the curmudgeon bloggers who are noted for expressing only common opinions. lol!

Edwin/Rick/Tom et al - just in case any of you were wondering (and I know you were), I'm uncommonly smart. And uncommonly funny. It's a deadly combination.

@JUSTA… LMAO. Yes, you are “uncommonly” smart and “uncommonly” funny. And yes, I do have a framed copies of my IQ, SAT, LSAT, and MCAT scores to “prove” I am “uncommonly” smart. LOL.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TOM

Mud;

Hey - not to worry. I didn't mind the old, cranky, and drunk remark - after all, I am Otis. And another thing, my friend: There is no Otis - I made him up. So - hack away, it's O.K.

Justa, I'm trying to digest on your statement:

- if that happens (the taking over for PJ part - not the ASG part) hell will be frozen over and a star will be rising in the east LMAO! Now the ASG on the other hand.... all I can say is it's a done deal. MM knows he wants to take me. He'll make it happen. He's looking forward to it!

~~hell will be frozen over; a star will be rising in the east....MM knows he wants to take me....he'll make it happen....he's looking forward to it. That's uncommonly funny and still lol in digesting those prophetic words.

WTH???? NO OTIS????


Well then who the hell has been drinking all my vodka? Who's Andy locking up in the slammer overnight? Who's Aunt Bea making pancake breakfast for?


There's some mischief afoot.....

A 23 year old thinking he's invincible and that he's got all the time in the world to think about things? That's the weirdest thing ever.

Just sayin....

Edwin,

I actually like your raffle idea. It could be set up so that whoever gets chosen can go to a Laker game in any city where the Lakers will play, that way a lot more people could participate.

I wouldn't be surprised to one day see membership fees required for blogs, or a charge per post or something and I can see dedicated fans being willing to pay especially if they had a chance for the raffle you suggested.

Kobe's response to LO being the first player to be NBA Champion and World Champion on the same year? "Who's counting?" then casually mentions that he has 3 more rings. That was hilarious!

Go Kobe, GO LAKERS!


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