It’s all but official — Lamar Odom will be named Sixth Man of the Year today.
He was expected to be the clear winner (Dallas’ Jason Terry was the only other serious candidate mentioned by voters). The Lakers have called a press conference for a hotel in Los Angeles for 3 p.m. Pacific time. Since the standard operating procedure is for a player to be announced the winner of an award a day before a home playoff game (which the Lakers have Wednesday) it’s pretty easy to guess what is going on here.
Odom had the best year of his career, coming out of playing for Team USA in Turkey and carrying that momentum over to the league, doing away with the slow starts he is known for and averaging 14.4 points per game. Odom shot a career best 53 percent this season and 38.3 percent from three (also a career best 59.8 true shooting percentage).
Odom was asked to play a number of roles for the team and fit into them seamlessly. He also had the highest PER of any non starter this season (19.4, borderline All-Star level). Basically any way you wanted to break it down he was the best sixth man in the league this season.
The only knock was that Odom started 35 games for the Lakers due to injuries to bigs in front of him. Which seems a misplaced argument to me — isn’t what you want out of a sixth man is someone who can step into the starter’s role and have the team not miss a beat? (The league rule is that as long as you came off the bench more games than you started, you are eligible, and Odom came off the bench for 47.)
We’ll update this when it becomes official, but you can start raising your glasses in a toast to Odom now. You know all those reality show producers at E! were excited (once they looked up what the award was).