Lamar Odom was recently re-introduced to the L.A. media and looks like a man with new life. At his press introduction, Lamar Odom grinned and said it felt like “deja vu, all over again”.
“It feels great to be back in L.A. It feels great to be back in a Clipper uniform,” Odom said in his opening statement. “I feel like I’m 19, hopefully I can turn back the clock on the court as well.”
Odom was originally drafted fourth overall by the Clippers in the 1999 Draft; he was with the organization for 4 years. He’s tallied a number of achievements since, including two NBA titles, an Olympic bronze medal, a gold medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championships, and a Sixth Man of the Year award in 2010-11.
Vinny Del Negro is definitely excited about having a bit more versatility and skill in both his bench unit and in the frontcourt.
“I felt he was committed and wanted to be back in a Clipper uniform and that’s what I wanted to see,” Del Negro said. “We want players here that are committed to the process, committed to the organization and the fan base.”
“His versatility gives you a lot of different options, offensively, defensively. He can space the court a little bit. We can post him up. He can play off the elbow. He makes plays. He’s unselfish. He gives us some more length. We’ve just got to finish out the rest of the roster and obviously put him areas to be successful.”
Odom had a disappointing last season with the Mavericks where he clashed, sometimes publicly, with teammates and owner Mark Cuban; his heart never really left LA and the Clippers are counting on that. Odom doesn’t have his eye on last season. “I’m just looking forward to coming out and helping the team win games, to do whatever it takes to win basketball games and erase that last season I had. I wasn’t myself,” Odom said. “I feel better. I’ve had some time to try and get past some things. I’m looking forward to getting back on the court and playing at a high level. For a long time, the court has been like my sanctuary and for a minute there it wasn’t and as an athlete sometimes you have to be honest with yourself and where you’re at mentally and physically. Sometimes when you’re having a tough time mentally, it even affects [you] physically.”
If the Clippers are getting a focused and committed Lamar Odom, then they have a formidable weapon. Unfortunately (as the Dallas Mavericks know) if Odom doesn’t come to camp focused and in shape, then he could prove to be more of a formidable distraction.