The biggest question surrounding the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2012-13 NBA season is: Will Lamar Odom be the player he was two seasons ago instead of the disgrace he was last season?
According to him, the old Odom is back because he has returned home and is ready to make good on his contract with LA. He might not be with the Los Angeles Lakers anymore, but he is back in the bright lights of “The City of Angels”.
“Sometimes in order to do what we want to do, to make good decisions, sometimes we have to be in that happy place,” Odom said an in interview posted on SportingNews.com. “I am back in that happy place.”
Before last season began, the Lakers traded him to the Dallas Mavericks for almost nothing. Odom had been a main piece to two Laker Championships in 2009 and 2010, and was then shipped off in a salary dumping deal to a main rival.
This obviously upset the 6-foot, 10-inch 2011 Sixth Man of the Year Award winner and took him out of his “happy place”.
Instead of manning up and dealing with the situation, Odom decided to play with 15 boulders on his shoulders and didn’t seem to care the Mavericks were paying him to play basketball. He scored a career-low 6.6 points per game, which is the only time in his 13-year career he averaged under 10 ppg. Odom and the Mavericks front office couldn’t see eye to eye and the power forward didn’t suit up for Dallas for half of the season.
In June, Odom was dealt to the Clippers in part of a four-team trade.
Now everyone in the basketball world wants to know if Odom can still play or was his disruptive season with the Mavericks the new version of Odom.
Since he was traded to LA I have stood by him because I think he is still going to be a great player. If there was any situation that would be great to fall into after a horrible one — the current Clippers’ squad would be it.
He will be teamed with one of the best point guards in the league in Chris Paul, will play alongside great young talent in DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, and is titled as the sixth man of a bench also holding Grant Hill and Jamal Crawford.
All the pieces are set up for him to be the last of an NBA Championship winning puzzle.
However, for him to be that last piece, he has to be able to play the way he did with the Lakers. The Clippers don’t have time for him to be emotional anymore because after him, the low-post depth chart is simply a shot blocker in Ryan Hollins and a rebounder in Ronny Turiaf. Odom was brought in to be the difference maker in a game because not every NBA team in the league has a high quality player such as Odom coming off the bench.
The Clippers need him to spread the floor. LA doesn’t have a single low-post player outside of Odom who can drill a three-pointer or consistently hit an 18-foot jumper. Paul made miracles happen last season, just imagine if he has one less tree to climb in the paint.
Defensively, Odom is lengthy, strong and quick enough to guard any position in the league. This is definitely an asset for the Clippers.
A lot of people, including people who comment on Fully Clips, are riding Odom off like he can’t play in the league anymore. I think last season was an outlier that only happens once and won’t happen again. Odom is in a situation where it would be very hard for him to fail.
If Los Angeles is his happy place, I hope the Clippers’ blue, red and white have him cheesing from ear to ear because the Clippers need his A-game to be successful.