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Jerry West and James Worthy argue Lamar Odom should play in the NBA 2011 All-Star game

November 18, 2010 |  7:47 pm

Time and time again, Jerry West read critiques of Lamar Odom's play and became more agitated with the commentary.

"He's one of the most underappreciated players on this Laker team," West said. "When I see the press get on him for not scoring, that's not who Lamar Odom is."

Time and time again, James Worthy watched Odom's performances and became more agitated with his inconsistency.

"I get frustrated with Lamar because sometimes I see a lack of attitude," Worthy said before the 2010 West Conference finals. "Sometimes I see too much deferring to the other guys."

The Lakers legends didn't arrive at Star Plaza outside Staples Center on Thursday for the unveiling of the 2011 NBA All-Star game at odds, however. Save that sentiment for the Clipper girls, who voted for plenty of Laker rivals during the unveiling, including Boston's Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Miami's Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Save that angst for the Clipper girls' voting in Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, giving the Clippers a higher All-Star total than the Lakers, which consisted of West's vote for Kobe Bryant and Worthy's vote for Pau Gasol. No, West and Worthy arrived at Staples Center carrying the sentiment that Odom should be on the 2011 NBA All-Star team.

Worthy looks at Odom's 14.9 points on 58.5% shooting (fifth-best shooting percentage in the league) and 10.8 rebounds (eighth best in the league) a game and concludes his experience in the 2010 FIBA World Championships increased his aggressiveness.

"I really think Lamar Odom has wanted to be an All-Star and to be recognized as an All-Star," Worthy said. "I think this year is a good chance for him by playing overseas internationally, coming back in great shape and having a great start, I think the voters will think heavily about him."


West looks at Odom's performances this season and concludes it's what he's always provided, as the 2010 FIBA World Championships helped him realize he matched up better with top talent than he initially thought.

"I'm a big fan of his and I'd love to have him on my team," West said. "He's a selfless player and you can win with him."

The differing points of view from West and Worthy epitomize the split Laker fans held about Odom in previous seasons. Their newfound agreement also reveals Odom's strong start to the 2010-11 season reconfirmed supporters' sentiments about his versatility and assuaged critics' fears about his inconsistency. And their strong support for Odom landing a spot on the All-Star team foreshadows what I believe will happen come February.

--Mark Medina