Five things Lamar Odom needs for a successful season
1. Cut the reality shows. "Khloe & Lamar" will air on E! for at at least two more seasons, so it looks as though that won't' happen. Even if Odom proved capable of handling the heavy workload last season, he needs to continually monitor his schedule.
2. Maintain strong conditioning from the 2010-2011 season. One reason for Odom's most consistent season last year, with 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds a game, is the strong conditioning he gained from playing in the FIBA World Championship. Odom doesn't have that luxury this season, so it's important that he stay active this off-season to make sure he enters this season just as sharp.
3. Restore consistency. Odom proved that the Lakers could rely on him every game during the regular season, but then he reverted in the playoffs to his underachieving reputation. The reality television venture had nothing to do with it. Odom lacked the aggressiveness he displayed during the regular season that enabled him to establish a niche, even while playing with top-level talent.
4. Continue sharpening jack-of-all-trades role. Odom never fails in this category, but it's important that he maintain this role for varying reasons. Odom's two-year, $17-million deal could be the most attractive contract the Lakers could trade and they have a team option on him for the 2012-13 season. It's possible the Lakers will make tweaks to their bench, so it's necessary Odom provides leadership with that unit and fills in gaps wherever need be. Should Andrew Bynum fall to injury or Pau Gasol suffer more fatigue, Odom will need to be ready to assume more minutes.
5. Provide positive locker room presence. He's become the most popular Laker in the locker room because of his down-to-earth and likable personality. Because Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher are so serious as leaders, it's necessary Odom help keep the team loose and jovial.
Five things to ensure a successful season for...
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Photo: Lamar Odom. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times