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Poll Question: What do you think of Lamar Odom's returning to the bench upon Andrew Bynum's return?

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Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum began training camp on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Odom spent most of his offseason playing for Team USA in the 2010 FIBA World Championship and entered training camp the best in shape because of that experience. Bynum spent his offseason getting surgery on his right knee to treat the lateral meniscus tear he suffered during the 2010 NBA playoffs, a controversial decision considering the surgery happened after attending the World Cup and resulted in him missing the start of the season.

After Odom's disappointing playoff run prompted the Lakers to consider dumping his salary, he's played with a relentless work ethic, dropping three double doubles through five regular-season games, consistently fulfilling a jack-of-all-trades role and remaining insistent that he doesn't want to dial it down. After Bynum valiantly fought through pain during the postseason, he's rehabbed his surgically repaired right knee while fans wonder about his commitment level.

The two will soon come at a crossroads because Jackson estimated Bynum will return to practice by the end of next week and will eventually take Odom's starting position once he begins playing, believed to be around Thanksgiving. Jackson contended after practice Thursday that the switch is "best for the team," a point Odom agreed with when he told The Times' Mike Bresnahan, "Makes no difference to me. We've won two championships."

Even if there isn't much of a debate among the team, I noticed a discussion brewing as early as Sunday during the Lakers' 107-83 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Below the jump, I size up each position, provide my overall take and then ask for your vote in a poll.

Why Bynum should start and Odom should return to the bench: Even though the Lakers are 5-0, the team has correctly lamented its poor defense as it's surrendered more than 100 points in four of the five contests. Bynum's prescence alone should immediately improve that area. Even though Bynum played a limited role in the 2010 NBA Finals and Western Conference finals because of the injured right knee, he gave the Celtics and Suns fits because his size and height kept opponents from freely driving into the lane. He also became instrumental in the close baskets and rebounds, relieving Gasol from that responsibility while he concentrated more on the post. Bynum's presence is crucial early in the game because his production often comes when he builds a rhythm. Being a linchpin early on defense will also force teams to make adjustments quickly.

This situation also plays to Odom's strength because he's used to coming off the bench. Jackson had even started playing Odom with the bench's regular unit beginning Sunday against Golden State so they become more comfortable with him. The skills Odom and Bynum have also makes this scenario possible. Odom's jack-of-all trades role plays to the reserves' strength because he can fit in with any combination and he makes the bench players more comfortable by getting him involved. Bynum -- being a 7-foot center with a large wingspan -- is a rare asset to have, but it's a specific skill that works best only in certain situations. Bynum's going to be behind on conditioning, and there's no way he'd be able to keep up with the speed Steve Blake, Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes bring on the floor. Bynum's post presence will work much effectively with the veterans because they know one another and they'll play at a more deliberate pace than the bench will.

Why Odom should keep his starting spot and Bynum should come off the bench: Odom has earned it. He averaged 10.9 points on 46.9% shooting and a team-leading 10.7 rebounds in 31.7 minutes per contest during the exhibition season, he opened the season with three double doubles and he's cracked double digits in every game. Though I defended Bynum's decision to delay surgery because he needed rest and he was assured the surgery date would give him enough time to rehab before training camp, I understand the sentiment that immediately giving Bynum a starting gig sends the wrong message to a team that stresses professionalism and accountability. It's unpredictable how long it will take Bynum to fully catch up on conditioning and chemistry with his teammates, so it'd be better for Bynum to come offthe bench as he progresses. Besides, why mess with what has been working? The Lakers have averaged a league-leading 113 points, and Odom's been a large contributor in that effort by giving the Lakers' second-chance points, timely outlet passes on breaks and dependable outside shooting and post play. There's no need to diminish Odom's role when it's proved to be so valuable.

The verdict:I'm going with Jackson's decision to put Bynum back in the starting spot for the reasons I outline above. It's likely Bynum's minutes will be fairly limited when he first steps on the court, but I honestly don't think he'll be as effective with the reserves because they haven't played him. Putting 7-footers side-by-side in Bynum and Pau Gasol is a luxury only the Lakers have, and there's no way teams can consistently stop it when they also have to worry about Kobe Bryant. The claim that Bynum and Gasol can't play together proves no longer valid as indicated last season by their playoff chemistry.

In Odom's case, he's either the beneficiary or victim of being good at everything. It depends how you look at it. That's made Odom a moveable part in Jackson's rotation, but it hasn't made him disposable. I can't think of anyone in this league who possesses the skills Odom has. His numbers may dip after coming off the bench, but I don't think his minutes will diminish for the simple reason that Bynum's presence will help relieve the burden Gasol and Odom have fielded thus far on the Lakers' frontline. Because of that, Odom will still remain effective enough to be a significant part of the offense and it'll bolster an already promising bench.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com.

Photo: With the Lakers off to a strong start this season, the team is not in a hurry to bring back injured center Andrew Bynum. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.

 
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Good Morning Fabulous JustaAnotherMambaFan(Head of Mamba Clan) & the Fabulous Morning
CRUE!!! : DJ LROB, LEWSTRS, Justanothermambafan, Fan Of The Mamba, PsychedLakerGirl,
Zaira, Faith, Wes, Rick Friedman, KB Blitz, Ouchhhhhh, DBDH, Caliphilosopher, LakerMike, Troy
KobeMVP888, 63 Footer, 2Phatt, MagicPhil, JohnnyP, JohnnyV, Noah, Complex_Brotha, Phred,
Jolly Rancher, Nemaia Faletogo, Jamie Sweet, CHICNSTU, Wallace, ZairaAmaterasu(Goddess)
The Activator
GAME DAY BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!
http://tinyurl.com/ylp3qqc _ I Love LA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B257UZ1OfBM&feature=related – Here Come Lakers

Good Morning Fabulous JustaAnotherMambaFan(Head of Mamba Clan) & the Fabulous Morning
CRUE!!! : DJ LROB, LEWSTRS, Justanothermambafan, Fan Of The Mamba, PsychedLakerGirl,
Zaira, Faith, Wes, Rick Friedman, KB Blitz, Ouchhhhhh, DBDH, Caliphilosopher, LakerMike, Troy
KobeMVP888, 63 Footer, 2Phatt, MagicPhil, JohnnyP, JohnnyV, Noah, Complex_Brotha, Phred,
Jolly Rancher, Nemaia Faletogo, Jamie Sweet, CHICNSTU, Wallace, ZairaAmaterasu(Goddess)
The Activator
GAME DAY BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!
http://tinyurl.com/ylp3qqc _ I Love LA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B257UZ1OfBM&feature=related – Here Come Lakers

I agree with most of the people that Bynum should start.

Even though it's a waste benching Odom when he is in great shape, this leads to a question I would like to hear opinions on:

Because Odom played on the FIBA World Championship, how will this affect him on the long run? Will Phil have to rest him some time? or will Odom keep this shape all season?

Good morning crew!

I am going to harp on this one for a while. We have 4 new guys we are trying to incorporate into the system. It took Ron Ron all season to fully understand it and he is acknowledged by scouts as having high basketball IQ.

The four new guys are playing very well and contributing postivitely however our defense is a bit porous. The same thing happened last year, then it started kicking in. Remember the end of last season? The team was playing horribly and we were all questioning everything. And that was with only one new guy.

We are fortunate that Lamar played this past Summer at a high level and came into camp in top condition. He has been a valuable piece during Bynum's rehab. But he needs to go back to the bench and be the leader he became on Team USA. When he plays with the starters he can hide behind Kobe & Fish's leadership.

We NEED LO's leadership and veteran triangle experience with the bench. When the team is "complete", the practices will be elevated and competitive and the bench will truly test the starters defense.

This realistically won't happen until January if AB's timetable stays the same. But I predict our defense will start kicking in after the new year.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the W's, enjoy PJ's tinkering, his calculated mind games and the Lakers' cohesiveness. Their playing great for 5 games in and I LOVE IT!

Cheers - PLG

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the W's, enjoy PJ's tinkering, his calculated mind games and the Lakers' cohesiveness. Their playing great for 5 games in and I LOVE IT! Posted by: PsychedLakerGirl | November 05, 2010 at 06:28 AM
*
Good Morning PsychedLakerGirl! In the meantime I am going to enjoy saying...OUT FREAKIN STANDING MA'AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's up Mamba in the Morning.

@Brylle - excellent video.

@PLG - Well said. Cheers.

@Tidal Wave - I think PJ will have to give LO more rest later in the season so he's fresh going into the playoffs.

MAMBA24 -

Good morning to you sir! I think I will be able to make the game chat tonight, since I have no class tomorrow. It'll be good to talk to everyone once the game gets going.

I'm looking forward to a strong defensive effort in the 3rd quarter tonight. Hopefully that will be the one to put the game away.

MY First cut is to Yes, Yes, Yes, The Fabulous Justanothermambafan http://tinyurl.com/pcnd9m - BUJU BANTON - DENSITY

Good morning to you sir! I think I will be able to make the game chat tonight, since I have no class tomorrow. It'll be good to talk to everyone once the game gets going. I'm looking forward to a strong defensive effort in the 3rd quarter tonight. Hopefully that will be the one to put the game away. Posted by: Caliphilosopher | November 05, 2010 at 06:35 AM
*
And Good Lakers Game Day Morning to you sir!! Joining the Game Chat, very good sir! I think this game is going to be a massacre. The Lakers are not playing around. They don't just want to beat opponents, they want to destroy them!! This makes it all the easier for the next time they play the opponent, because the guys will be defeated before they ever start the game. This is how the old Bulls when they were at their peak with MJ used to do it and who was the coach? PJ!
This season is shaping up to be - barring injuries - as LakerTom says, a Season for the ages and I'm going to savor each and every game.

@LROB, Good Morning DJ LRob! It is a simply womderful Lakers Game Day Morning! Simply Wonderful sir! And why is that? Well..because I am a member of the greatest nation on earth, Lakers Nation! Imbued with Lakerholicism from head to toe. What more could anyone ask for!!!! SWEET JESUS!!!!!

*_______________________________________________________________*
THE LAKERS 82 GAME WIN – BANDWAGON
*_______________________________________________________________*
(01) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN – OWNER - Excuse me, but my 82-0 bandwagon still
has all it's wheels on and still has plenty of seats. Not to mention plenty of vodka....
(02) FAN OF THE MAMBA – DRIVER1 –
(03) LAKERFANINCOWTOWN – DRIVER2 - By the way, I agree with someone's previous
statement (sorry can't remember who) that this is going to be an epic season. Not only is it
going to be Banner #17, and a record 4th three-peat for Jackson, but I think Phil's gonna
want more. Breaking the 72 win record, breaking the 33 game streak record, perhaps even
16-0 in the playoffs. I've been on the 82-0 bandwagon since day 1!
(04) HTJ - RIDING SHOTGUN - 82-0 Bandwagon still in effect. Just 77 more. We got this!
(05) MAMBA24 – I just follow where the Head of my Family leads folks
(06) MAMBA24BG- I just follow my Dad.
(07) SEGEBOY/TALIQ – SHERIFF
(08) KB2FOE - need a lift, folks. How about that 82-0 bandwagon?
(09)

How quickly we forget ....

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/odom-233745-bynum-salt.html

snippet:
Phil Jackson acknowledged late Wednesday night that his trusted assistants are already lobbying him to make the change to start Odom over Bynum – and he’s going to contemplate it when the Lakers reconvene after the All-Star break.

snippet:
Considering Bynum’s lack of footspeed, he can become a dump truck trying to chase the IndyCars when he has to play with the Lakers’ tempo-pushing second unit. He’s a score-first player, and if his points go down, it’s highly likely so does his commitment to defense. There is a very real risk that you lose the best of Bynum if you bench him and shake his confidence.

So .......

This addresses the original point that the Lakers will not be nearly as fluid
with Bynum starting instead of Odom.

Furthermore, this addresses my questions about his defense as well.

It would be nice to bench him and make him earn his way into the starting
lineup, but that would be addresisng character issues and that's not what this
is about. It's about winning.

The only way Bynum isn't starting [ longterm ] with the Lakers is if he's hurt
or if he's traded or if the Lakers get another coach.

btw, MM Bynum & Gasol do *NOT* have any chemistry to speak of. Bynum
has been injured since the Great Flood, he's slower than molasses & all he
wants to do is dance, dance oh, wait. sorry. all he wants to do is score.
Before you or others come back with me being a Bynum-basher, consider
the following:

combo: Odom + Gasol

combo: Kobe + Odom

combo: Kobe + Gasol

Please compare those 3 combos to Bynum + Gasol.

The only time Bynum + Gasol have been good at a two man game is when
they play against midgets who have no true center. Then Gasol tosses into
Bynum & Bynum has a monster game, because the opposing team doesn't
have a center.

If one of you encyclopedic types wishes to educate me, by point me to a
game where Bynum & Gasol were healthy, matched up against similar size
& played well, I would be happy to be wrong about this.

fwiw, the FO screwed up this past summer. They should have forced Bynum
to have the surgery *immediately* after the season due to his medical
history. And before any of you HR types speak, no ... I don't care. Dr. Buss
is paying 13 million per year for this supposed next franchise player and
Buss' 13 million dollars would be best served playing on the court during the
regular & post season vs. riding pine. & Yes, I've had knee surgery. Twice.
If he can't get motivated about 3-peating & a 13 million dollar paycheck, then
something is wrong. Are any of you *rich* types going to tell me that a multi-
millionaire can't get good service at the World cup, just because of an injury?

Now ... Before the Bynum supporters go into apoplectic seizure because of
the touch love for Bynum, can we go back to a less polarizing topic like ...
the failure of Prop 19 to pass. *chuckle*

Now ... Before the Bynum supporters go into apoplectic seizure because of the touch love for Bynum, can we go back to a less polarizing topic like ...the failure of Prop 19 to pass. *chuckle* Posted by: hobbitmage | November 05, 2010 at 07:17 AM
*
WOW!!!! This new improved HobbitMage is OUT FREAKIN STANDING!!!

fyi "touch love for Bynum" should have been "tough love for Bynum".

side note: Can we get "Les Grossman" from Tropic Thunder as the next
Lakers head coach or owner .....


"Bynum, you did a great job in the finals." --LG

"Thanks Les, I just try to play hard, blah blah blah" --Bynum

"A nutless monkey could have done your job" --LG

"WHAT??" --Bynum

"Just kidding" --LG

"Oh, so ... about that World Cup ..."

"No seriously, a nutless monkey could done your job" --LG

AW Hobbit! Just when you was on a Roll you go and ruin it.!!!

But Touch Love, Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Tough Love, No, No, No!!!
Tough Love is a BIatch!!! Just ask Mamba24.

Mamba24,

Can I play Les Grossman and get you to be my keygrip? Now, who can we
get to play producer ......

So if you look up the word "evil" in the dictionary, you would see a profile of
me in the act of committing various unsavory acts such as ....

"sneaking into Sarah Palin's house and putting itching powder on her thongs,
dosing Rand Paul's coffee with truth serum, reading US history books which
detail the Christian origins of the US, and of course ... sabotaging the internet
link to Spain"

except, I black-mailed the publishers and had my profile removed. I must
retain my anonymity when I go to Latin America. Having rebels try to hire
you while you eat breakfast just wrecks the rest of your vacation.

Can I play Les Grossman and get you to be my keygrip? Now, who can we
get to play producer ......

So if you look up the word "evil" in the dictionary, you would see a profile of me in the act of committing various unsavory acts such as ...."sneaking into Sarah Palin's house and putting itching powder on her thongs, dosing Rand Paul's coffee with truth serum, reading US history books which
detail the Christian origins of the US, and of course ... sabotaging the internet
link to Spain"

except, I black-mailed the publishers and had my profile removed. I must retain my anonymity when I go to Latin America. Having rebels try to hire you while you eat breakfast just wrecks the rest of your vacation. Posted by: hobbitmage | November 05, 2010 at 07:44 AM
*
LMAO!!! NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK TIME FOR MORE MUSIC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd6tTEvEsHI&feature=fvsr - TOO TIGHT - Confuncshun

Mamba24 - thanks friend. And can I offer a suggestion? Any bandwagon Justa starts should have Rick F. on it in absentia! We know he would join Justa!

GAME DAY! Cheers - PLG

*_______________________________________________________________*
THE LAKERS 82 GAME WIN – BANDWAGON
*_______________________________________________________________*
(01) JUSTANOTHERMAMBAFAN – OWNER - Excuse me, but my 82-0 bandwagon still
has all it's wheels on and still has plenty of seats. Not to mention plenty of vodka....
(02) RICK FRIEDMAN - CO-OWNER
(03) FAN OF THE MAMBA – DRIVER1 –
(04) LAKERFANINCOWTOWN – DRIVER2 - By the way, I agree with someone's previous
statement (sorry can't remember who) that this is going to be an epic season. Not only is it
going to be Banner #17, and a record 4th three-peat for Jackson, but I think Phil's gonna
want more. Breaking the 72 win record, breaking the 33 game streak record, perhaps even
16-0 in the playoffs. I've been on the 82-0 bandwagon since day 1!
(05) HTJ - RIDING SHOTGUN - 82-0 Bandwagon still in effect. Just 77 more. We got this!
(06) MAMBA24 – I just follow where the Head of my Family leads folks
(07) MAMBA24BG- I just follow my Dad.
(08) SEGEBOY/TALIQ – SHERIFF
(09) KB2FOE - need a lift, folks. How about that 82-0 bandwagon?
(10


Ok, so how is it that Prop 19 didn't pass?
In California of all places?
Too many hanging chads?
Or does only FL have that prob?
The fear mongers must have been out in full force.

I did look up evil in the dictionary but it didn't show the profile hobbitmage described.
However, when I looked up troublemaker in my dictionary it just says:
"see also-hobbitmage".

No offense intended, harmony can be overrated.
Sometimes a good solo performance can make even the Beachboys look weak.
And I agree that Bynum should have had the surgery earlier but that debate was a while back and the Bynum Backers clearly won that debate through sheer force of will, having a bigger army and attrition.


Man, I wake up, and y'all are STILL arguing about where Bynum's gonna start (though hobbitmage is particularly laugh-inducing, funny, and downright hilarious).

So, lest we forget, this song is what it's about, Friday:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfArO24gSNw

@Mamba - Buju rocks. And I could go on and on about Felton/Coop and the fellas...what an underrated group!

@Hobbit - you're on a roll early.

@Art - very funny!

@63 Footer - Is today Friday? I'm down with that cause I don't need no "Cure" for loving the Lakers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wa2nLEhUcZ0

Start Bynum, LO comes off the bench. Bynum fits best with the starters, and Odom with the bench. That's just plain simple. Odom will get his minutes with the starters throughout the game anyway.

LRob - It's Lakers Friday... I've been looking forward all week:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zB0RygrYy8

Whatever happened to the old saying: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" In the past Lamar was needed to come off the bench. He provided both a spark (rebounding) and stability (veteran leadership). But are those really issues anymore for our bench of the Killer B's? Our team right now could be the best team since the 1987-88 Laker team...without Bynum. Not only is our bench better than it's ever been in decades, it really doesn't need anymore help. The problem with our bench is giving that talent enough playing time without alienating them. I think the match-ups should dictate who starts. Those match ups will vary from team to team.

It's simple.

If it ain't broke don't fix it.

The starting group will be fine whether Odom starts or Bynum but by starting Bynum it bolsters the bench even more w/ Odom's presence.

Like LO said "we won 2 championships" w/ him coming off the pine

 
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