Lamar Odom has been terrible as a Dallas Maverick. 4-27 from the field bad. Halved production per 36 minutes bad. Outright disaster bad. But it’s early, and he’s adapting to a new system and new teammates after a lot of years under Phil Jackson and the triangle in L.A. More than that, though, he’s been in poor conditioning. (Something something, too many Skittles.)
But the Mavericks have a plan!
From the Dallas Morning News:
Lamar Odom has been placed on the industrial-strength remedial course for improved physical conditioning, following in the footsteps of Peja Stojakovic and a few other players during the Rick Carlisle coaching tenure.
It’s not really anything special, but it is designed to get Odom back up to game speed, which he and the coach have said is lacking.
“There’s an action plan in place, and he’s working [hard],” Carlisle said. “He came in this [Friday] morning and worked for an hour and a half. He’s got a ways to go, but he’s a willing worker. He was behind when he got here condition-wise. But we’ll get him caught up.”
The plan for extra workouts to improve conditioning worked wonders for Stojakovic, although he also was fighting through a back injury for which he needed extra work. Odom has said it will simply take some time for him to get where he needs to be physically.
“He’s got to find his way within our team. We’re a free-flowing team. We don’t do much play-calling. There’s going to be a curve there. But that doesn’t affect how you run back and whether you’re in a stance or block somebody out, that kind of stuff. Let’s get to that, and then the other stuff will fall into place.”
The last part is intriguing, as it raises questions about the impact of playing in the Triangle for Phil Jackson. Odom struggled before winding up in L.A. due to his mind-wandering ways. But the Triangle, which allows a fair amount of decision making, but within a framework, allowed him to thrive. If A, then B, if not A, then C or D. (I’m not a Triangle expert or anything, but the gist is that there’s a framework and it’s not the easiest thing for a lot of players to get, which makes the collection of players Jackson has gotten to buy in all the more impressive.) A more improvisational Dallas offense may feed into Odom’s two worst sides on the basketball floor: the side that tends to zone out and disappear, and the side that tries to do too much with freedom.
Carlisle has never really had a player who couldn’t contribute inside his system; DeShawn Stevenson was a pivotal player for God’s sake. But Odom’s a special challenge. The Mavericks are committed to making it work though, and it’s good that they’re putting in the effort to meet him halfway.