Most basketball fans began the countdown to the tip-off of the 2012-13 NBA season as soon as the Miami Heat won the 2012 NBA Championship.
Good, you should have.
When it comes to making lists or tacking information with a set number of days–June to October can be a problem. In this case, Fully Clips and I have waited until the season was 10 days away to provide 10 aspects of the game of basketball, story lines or roster management moves the Los Angeles Clippers will showcase in the new season.
We’ve all heard tons of gossip and read plenty of headlines about Lamar Odom–this means he has to make No. 10 on the countdown list.
Odom at No. 10 lets FC reissue the importance of what Odom could possibly bring to the table for the Clippers’ low-post and forward play, while also getting him out of the way for readers who are tired of Odom to enjoy the rest of the countdown. Let’s begin.
No. 10: Lamar Odom
Once upon a time Odom was a great player and viewed as one of the most versatile players in the league since he could do everything a coach would want from a power forward, a small forward, a shooting guard and a point guard. Odom–at 6’10”, 230 pounds–could literally do everything on a basketball court.
Then the Los Angeles Lakers decided to trade him because he has a large contract and they were setting themselves up to land superstars such as Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.
Odom landed in Dallas as a Maverick–one of the Lakers’ biggest rivals. He wasn’t happy with the trade and didn’t play anywhere near the level of basketball fans had seen him play before. The Mavericks benched him for whole games at a time and then had a meeting with Odom that resulted in him not showing up at all. They didn’t waive him, the Mavericks kept him on the roster as trade bait.
Welcome to the Clippers.
The question leading into the season is whether or not Odom will be the Sixth Man of the Year Award winning caliber player he was with the Lakers or the 6.6 points a night guy he was for Dallas?
Obviously, the Clips signed him because they feel he could be a pivotal player off the bench in Blake Griffin’s rest periods. Not only could Griffin get rest, but LA wouldn’t miss much except for highlight reel dunks when their superstar player is seated. Odom can score, rebound, steal, block, pass and everything else (see above) better or at the same level as Griffin–except dunk.
Also, beyond Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers have little to no inside scoring. Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf are defensive minded players and add nothing to the offensive side of the ball. Scoring is the main reason LA traded for Odom–and he can.
But of course, this is if they get the pre-2011-12 Odom.
The lockout shortened season affected tons of stars conditioning including Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki. Odom endured the lockout and then only played half a season. Does it shock anyone he is out of shape in the preseason? Not me, but it better have got someone in the Clippers office on his back about hitting the treadmill. A winded player, no matter how much talent they have, isn’t going to help any situation when it comes to professional basketball.
If LA gets last year’s ghost of basketball bust known as Odom, then the Clippers have put themselves into a rut since his $8.2 million is the third highest contract on the books this season behind Chris Paul and Jordan. It would be a shame if Eric Bledsoe is a more valuable player to the team when he makes $1.7 million this season.
In Odom’s defense of the trade, his lackluster play in Dallas could have been the swift move from LA. He was a large contributor to two-NBA rings for the Lakers and had grew formed bonds with certain teammates–Kobe Bryant.
However, we all know the NBA is not a family reunion or the man cave where people and their closest friends play video games, drink beers, listen to music and decide which super model is the hottest.
The league is a business.
Deals happen like this every season whether it is done to a bench player, a roster filler, a role player, the sixth man, a starter, a perennial All-Star or a potential Hall of Fame member. The guys that can’t handle it are knocked out of the NBA in no time and wish they would have changed their mindset to not only better the new team, but themselves as well.
Ask Allen Iverson or Stephon Marbury.
There is still hope in Odom–$8.2 million worth. If he can swallow the fact the Clippers are the closest he is ever going to get to the Lakers–they play in the same city, same arena–and play to his natural ability, the Clippers should get their money back and some.
I’ve said it plenty of times in the last two months–the Clippers are the deepest team in the NBA. It all starts with Odom providing a lift for a thin front line.