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Lakers Report Cards: Lamar Odom

Photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom proved to be the team's most consistent player during the regular season. But he proved unreliable once the playoffs start. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times This is the 11th edition of Lakers Report Cards, focusing today on reserve forward Lamar Odom.

Grade: B+

Sitting on the team plane, plenty of thoughts raced around Lamar Odom's mind. 

The Lakers just lost in a four-game sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals, officially ending the defending champions' chance to three-peat. He had ended that effort in embarrassing fashion, committing a flagrant foul on Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki in the fourth quarter, a defining moment that symbolized the Lakers' loss of composure. And then Odom's thoughts quickly raced about his improved individual season, where his third-best 14.4 points on 53% shooting and a third-best 8.7 rebounds earned him the NBA sixth man of the year and coincided with his increased celebrity brand, most notably featuring he and wife Khloe Kardashian starring in a reality television show dubbed "Khloe and Lamar," and the launching of a unisex fragrance line titled "Unbreakable."

But Odom's emotions on the team plane provided more compelling drama than anything that reality television might capture and brought into question the validity of the name of his fragrance. 

"That’s what kind of broke me down," Odom said about the plane ride back from Dallas. "When I was with Derek [Fisher], I was talking to him about individual success. After experiencing championships, to hell with it. You go through so many things in life. The one year I get noticed, get accolades or get to work with my wife with reality show and fragrance is the year my team comes up short and we lose. It’s just the way it is."

Yes, there is a hint of irony regarding how the Lakers' disappointing season coincided with Odom's most satisfying effort in his 12-year career. Long considered a model of inconsistency, Odom proved this season to be just the opposite. Long considered an out-of-shape arrival at training camp, Odom entered the 2010 session at peak condition after a stint with Team USA in the 2010 FIBA World Championships. And long considered to underachieve and never reach his full potential, Odom overachieved this season and surpassed his potential.

Yet, as much as it appeared Odom grew as a player, he mysteriously reverted back to inconsistent habits in the postseason when he averaged 12.1 points on 45.9% shooting and 6.5 rebounds. He enters an offseason of uncertainty on whether his two-year, $17-million contract might be good trade bait. And he'll enter the 2011-12 campaign with the public wondering how he'll bounce back. 

The most tempting storyline would connect Odom's postseason slump to his involvement with reality television. But that argument rightfully sounds "silly" in Odom's mind because filming happened in the regular season. It's also a stretch to connect his personal life being exposed to the general public, teammates likely teasing him more and opponents having more material for on-court trash talk, according to Hoopdata.com, shooting only 37.5% within 10-15 feet and 18.2% between 16-23 feet. 

That is why it's understandable that Odom's television viewing after the Lakers' playoff exit was limited to the "500s," referring to DirecTV's movie channel lineup, and he mostly stayed away from the public spotlight. But once the initial frustration over the Lakers' failed playoff hopes die down, Odom only will have to realize that he could've avoided all this by replicating his regular-season success. 

That's when he assuaged concerns the Lakers might consider dumping his salary like they did during the 2010 offseason, proved many wrong that his heavy summer schedule would lead to burnout and that he finally proved All-Star caliber. He didn't make the All-Star team like he had hoped, but he offered plenty of reason to leave many on the Lakers to think the NBA coaches snubbed him.

Odom's stint with Team USA kept him in peak condition and gave him the ability to overcome the upcoming mental fatigue. That's when Odom logged heavy minutes as a starter for the first 24 games of the season while Andrew Bynum rehabbed from his surgically repaired right knee, providing a solid foundation to where Odom averaged 16.3 points on 57.3% shooting in 37.2 minutes in the 35 games he started. Odom then graciously returned to the bench with minimal hiccups. Odom's indifference isn't all that surprising. He's accepted and excelled in a bench role with the Lakers for the last three seasons. His immediate response, however, truly shows how Odom's selfless attitude helps make any changed role seamless. He responded in the Lakers' 103-88 victory on Dec. 29, 2010, over the New Orleans Hornets by scoring a season-high 24 points off the bench on 10-of-15 shooting, making a three-pointer to end the third quarter and a nifty put-back after he wrapped the ball around his back. Odom's 13 points on 49.4% shooting and 5.6 rebounds as a reserve might be a statistical dropoff compared to his numbers as a starter, but Odom's versatile skill-set still proved just as valuable. 

Of course, it was never a surprise to see Odom start a break with an outlet pass or end a break with a coast-to-coast layup. It was typical to see Odom man the ball up top on one possession and then bang in the post on the next possession. And it was normal to see all that on a consistent basis. But once the postseason hit, forget it. Odom didn't provide leadership to a faltering reserve unit, compensate for Pau Gasol's disappearing act or complement Bynum. That's why as impressive as Odom had proved for most of the season, his poor postseason play shows that it was actually Bynum that proved the most reliable this year when he was in the lineup. 

But Odom won't fret over that. He'll just fret over the Lakers' failing to win a title, just like he did on the plane ride back to Los Angeles. 

RELATED:

Lakers Report Cards: Kobe Bryant 

Lakers Report Cards: Pau Gasol

Lakers Report Cards: Andrew Bynum

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom proved to be the team's most consistent player during the regular season. But he proved unreliable once the playoffs start. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (22)

The comments to this entry are closed.

In the end, it's all about the playoffs and how well the team and its players performed. Remember: the "practice season" doesn't count. Like Kobe said: it was a wasted year. It's either all - the championship - or nothing.

The team was touted as the most talented in the league; they were supposedly built for the playoffs; they were supposed to be in the Finals and win it all. OKC did to Dallas what L.A. wasn't able to do: win a game.

They all receive an F... Let's see if they treat the next season like a "practice season." No more "passes" for this underacheiving team. No more excuses. They failed and failed miserably. The last 3 seasons were just that: last; previous; past. The failure begins with the coaching staff and ends with the players. End of story.

While Lamar didn't come through in the playoffs, he's critical to our future success, so count me among those who nix any trade talks involving him (MM, I'm talking about you). I believe Lamar will be motivated next year, along with a re-habbed and focused Kobe.

As for OKC tonight, I would just point out that last night I noted early in the first quarter how much tighter defense their hounding of the Mavs 3-pt shooters was, and that I felt this could be a key to beating the Mavs. I got ridiculed for saying so when the Mavs pulled away in the second half. I mention it because tonight, again, the Mavs shot a very ordinary 9-27 (33%) for 3s for the night, and OKC was in every Mavs' shooter's face all night long. It's still anybody's series, but OKC definitely has the formula (stop the 3s) and the tenacity to beat the Mavs.

Corner J - I'm not advocating for Lamar to be traded. I'm just highlighting what is the reality. He's a valuable commodity and an easy contract to absorb.

We will see how reality Khloe and Lamar really is ....

Behind the scenes they both, along Bynum, Shannon Brown and others
talk about Kobe's selfishness and his overweight wife's jealousy.

Not sure Andrew Bynum can play with Kobe much longer.
Bynum needs to get the ball or be traded.

As for OKC tonight, I would just point out that last night I noted early in the first quarter how much tighter defense their hounding of the Mavs 3-pt shooters was, and that I felt this could be a key to beating the Mavs. I got ridiculed for saying so when the Mavs pulled away in the second half. I mention it because tonight, again, the Mavs shot a very ordinary 9-27 (33%) for 3s for the night, and OKC was in every Mavs' shooter's face all night long. It's still anybody's series, but OKC definitely has the formula (stop the 3s) and the tenacity to beat the Mavs.

Posted by: CornerJ | May 19, 2011 at 09:34 PM
---------------
Corner J,

I thought OKC’s defense in game 1 was worst than the Lakers vs. Dallas. The Mavs got anything they wanted that game and their D on Berea’s P/R was a joke. But big props to the Thunder today for tightening things up. Like you mentioned they defended the 3 very well. But I thought the key to the win was OKC attacked the Mavs weak defenders. Harden took it to Terry and Maynor attacked Berea. OKC has a lot more perimeter offensive firepower than the Lakers and it showing. This has all the making of a 7 game series. I can’t wait to see how each team handles the pressure later in the series.

I want LO traded. The guy had a tremendous year but didn't produce when it really counted. Great piece for a trade - trade him but get something valuable. Accurate outside shooter, quick pg, we all know what the lakers lack already so why rehash it.

i just think that he is too easy going. he was too distracted with his stupid reality show - even he admitted it took up WAY more time than he had anticipated. At the risk of playing like crap in the playoffs -what are your real priorities. Trade him for a hungry player who wants to win a ring.

@MM.. somebody callin you out at another blog! better get your rebuttal ready.

http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2011/5/19/2178861/like-united-states-lakers-stand-on-the-precipice-of-change#storyjump

and Medina no disrespect but lately you've been churning threads like a crooked stockbroker executes trades.. yes i counted and you posted 7 total threads on the kareem statue topic alone?! (was that really necessary?... not to mention other highly irrelevant bball threads on Forbes and numerology!!) ..

and then to top it off you post pau gasols and dfishs report cards (which was great) but then have the audacity to immediately put up another thread only 2 hours later completely killing any chance of a lively discussion on those topics.. FYI, we heard your opinion but is yours the only one that counts??

maybe its time for a Mark Medina report card:

writing efficiency A
work ethic A+
Content quality C
ability to focus on bball materialC+
delivering breaking laker news B
delivering breaking laker gossip A

:-)

Wonder what it would take to get Russel Westbrook out of OKC? Seems to be a lot of negative press surrounding him this playoff run...

Lamar O’Dumb had a good year, but we have been waiting on this for 3 years. However, he reverted back to LO in the playoffs. The grade is to high.

When you at these playoffs you can clearly see where others teams have improved and the Lakers got worst or did not match others. The Bench Slobs and LO was part of that group. As bad as the starting group played, and Pau was horrible, yet, the Lakers did have led in games and could have won 2 of first 4 games, but the bench could not maintain any momentum.

Take a look at the Bulls, its not Rose who playing out his mind, but his bench. The Heat won last night because of Haslem, off the bench. The Thunder, played most of their bench in the 4th quarter, with a Coach having big enough balls to keep his 2nd leading scoring on the bench. Dallas, their bench beat us.

If we can trade LO, the Lakers should trade him, for two other role players that bring hustle, no ego, and they don’t think they are starters, knowing their role.

However, I do not think the Lakers will do anything significant. I believe that Cupcake who put this bench together, he deserves an “F”. We can not build this team through the draft; we could not do it last year, so we have to make trades and it will mean some difficult decisions to make regarding this team.

Ahhh…the playoffs must be heating up. Cuban says the Mavs got the short end of the whistle last night. (Hmmm…the reminds me of the last 30 seconds of the Lakers game 1 ….when Dirk flopped for a whistle and then Kidd tripped Kobe and ran over hacked both Kobe and Pau).

Excerpt….

Cuban complained about moving screens and defensive three-second violations by the Thunder that he felt should have been called, among other things. "Horrible," Cuban said.

http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba/news/story?id=6569055

Jerry West joining Golden State's front office!
Darn.
Can the Lakers trade Mitch to GS for Jerry...

Coach Brooks of OKC is one gutsy dude.
Makes Westbrook sit out the 4th quarter, goes with the bench and pulls out the W.
No question who runs that team.

.780 winning percentage with Pau Gasol in the lineup. As far as a Laker, Pau Gasol stands only with George Mikan as players who have had a distinct impact in wins and losses. The record with Pau as a Laker is formidable, with any other team's winning percentage with a star.

Give me the Kobe argument over and over again. when Pau Gasol came in mid-season, learning on the fly, helped us get to the finals, he got dissed. That's okay, he came back stronger. We won the title against Orlando. We won the title against Boston, he kept getting dissed. We lose to a better team in the secound round, and he keeps getting dissed.

I can't tell you in so many words how this frustrates me. I'm super fly mad about this crap. Laker fans need to understand their entitled to their opinions, but that's all were entitled to. Titles are not entitled, they're won through 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Do you think Pau wanted to get tired and collapsed? Please, give me a break about this. In 4 years as a Laker, 2 titles, 3 finals appearances and a second round exit. I think that's admirable, considering the 3 finals happened in succession.

Now everyone wants to trade Pau, this is inane. If Laker fans believe Pau should be traded, than I consider your opinion of Basketball and the Lakers to be completely perma-fried.

That's it. I'm done. I'm retiring from blogging. The space between opinion and stupidity on a blog is so paper thin.

"I thought OKC’s defense in game 1 was worst than the Lakers vs. Dallas. The Mavs got anything they wanted that game and their D on Berea’s P/R was a joke."

LRob, my observation was specifically about how they were defending the 3s. They were playing the spot up shooters tight out on the perimeter, and by doing so that opened up the P/R, midgame, and interior. They picked their poison and stuck with it. I totally agree with that strategy. Slacking off (like the Lakers did) and letting them bomb 3s gives the Macs an extra point on every shot they make. Better to let them get 9 buckets off the P/R (and save yourself a total of 9 points). That was my entire point.

Like you, I think this is likely to go 7, and could still go either way. And it's a really great matchup to watch for any serious basketball fan. Nowitzki and Durant are ridiculously good.

Hey,

Kareem was on the Colbert Report last night. He mentioned that the Lakers have contacted him and told him the statue will be going up.

Stephen suggested that the reason the statue isn't up yet is that there isn't enough bronze in the world to make a statue his size. :-)

Corner J,

My problem with OKC's defense in game 1 was I thought they gave up both...a lot of open 3's and easy layups. I agree that you gotta chase the Mavs off the 3's and they did a much better job last night.

B-

(B+ if he hadn't agreed to that awful, bad luck-producing reality TV show.)

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Opinion from the vacationing PLG -

I would actually give LO an A. If he hadn't been able to capably substitute as a starter, our early season effort may have landed us further down in the WC.

To give AB an A- when he was out early season due to his choice to extend his family vacation and delay surgery, that impacted the cohesiveness of the team. And I would argue - didn't help create a strong foundation for our bench.

Everyone agrees our bench came up really short this season after free agent signings most of us thought were great. But think about it. If LO was able to come out of the shoot those 20+ games at the beginning of the season with the bench and create a stable foundation, what could have been.....

If you are going to give AB an A- for his 54 game effort plus the playoffs, I would say LO deserves the same grade. He was put in a very tough position of both starter with a specific role along with coming off the bench but actually being the leader of the bench squad.

I don't see any leadership or veteran presence from AB. At least LO has "manned up" and accepted his responsibilities to this TEAM. AB still has a long way to go from that aspect.

Cheers all - PLG

One thing is certain: Steve Blake was NOT an upgrade over Farmar. I would say the opposite. Farmar was better off the bench and the Lakers are stuck with a bench player who can't score nad does nothing for their offense. Say what you want about Blake "running the offense" but if he can't knock down open shots or score he is almost useless off the bench for the Lakers.

yellofever - Haha thanks for the report card. I actually think it was very fair. But please keep in mind that this is a blog. When there's news that happens, it'll be frequently updated. I actually thought Silver Screen and Roll's article was very well done and as it clearly stated, the writer's disagreement with me was nothing personal. You can disagree with people without being contentious

B+? Lamar deserves an A! He's the only Laker who was consistent all year!

I FEEL IN MY OPINION, THIS WAS THE BEST I'VE EVER SEEN ODOM PLAY AND ONE OF THE MOST FOCUSED YEARS I'VE SEEN IN REGARDS TO HIS PLAYING HABITS. NO DIS RESPECT TO GASOL, BUT I THINK ODOM DESERVED TO HAVE BEEN ON THE ALL STAR TEAM MORE SO THAN PAU THIS YEAR. I THINK THIS IS STILL A GREAT TEAM, BUT SOME PARTS NEED TO BE RE ARRANGED. I FEEL THAT NEXT YEAR PAU SHOULD COME OFF THE BENCH AND ODOM SHOULD START. I ALSO FEEL SHANNON, IF HE'S STILL THERE SHOULD START AND FISHER, ONE OF MY MOST HIGHLY RESPECTED PLAYERS SHOULD COME OFF THE BENCH. THE THING I NOTICE ABOUT ODOM IS THE MORE YOU INVOLVE HIM, THE BETTER HE PLAYS. KOBE IS STILL THE ONE PLAYER THAT I WOULD WANT TO BE WITH ME IN THE TRENCHES. THIS IS ONE PLAYER THAT YOU KNOW WILL HAVE YOUR BACK WITH THE EFFORT HE GIVES. I DO FEEL WE NEED HELP IN REGARDS TO THE BENCH, BUT IN ALL FAIRNESS TO BARNES AND BLAKE. I FEEL THEIR INJURIES TOOK MORE OF A TOLL THAN MOST PEOPLE REALIZE. THESE ARE TWO PLAYERS THOUGH WHO CAN AND WILL REBOUND IF GIVEN THE CHANCE. MY BIGGEST DECISION WOULD BE WETHER OR NOT TO TRADE FOR DWIGHT HOWARD. I MAY SOUND STRANGE, BUT IF IT MEANT I HAD TO GIVE UP BYNUM. I WOULDN'T MAKE THE TRADE. I FEEL KOBE PROBABLY WILL BE WITH US FOR TWO MORE YEARS AND THEN RETIRE. WE WOULD THEN NEED TO GO TO A POWER GAME AND BASED O N WHAT I'VE SEEN, ESPECIALLY THIS YEAR AND DUE TO HIS YOUTH AND RAW TALENT. BYNUM WILL BE IDEAL FOR THE LAKERS. I KNOW THERE IS A CONCERN IN REGARDS TO HIS PAST INJURIES, BUT IN LIFE SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO TAKE A CHANCE. THE WRIGHT BROTHERS TOOK CHANCES AND THAT'S WHY WE HAVE AIRPLANES TODAY. I SAW A LOOK IN BYNUM'S EYES THIS YEAR THAT I HAD BEEN WAITING TO SEE, BUT HAD NOT SEEN. THAT SPARK IS WHAT LEADS ME TO BELIEVE. HE WOULD BE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR THE LAKER'S DYNASTY. WETHER I'M RIGHT OR WRONG. ONLY TIME WILL TELL. PSALMS 119:165 ISAIAH 26:3


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