Lamar Odom has always been a maddening puzzle for fans of the teams he’s played for over the years to try and figure out. He seemingly has all the tools to be a dominant player on both ends of the floor, yet has only shows it in flashes throughout his NBA career that is now in its 14th season.
Odom is more of a solid all-around talent than he is a pure scorer, and a lot of that has been due to the role required of him in order for his teams to be most successful.
He averaged 14.4 points per game while winning Sixth Man of the Year honors with the Lakers in 2011, but this season in Los Angeles with the Clippers, he’s averaging just 3.8 points per game while playing 20.5 minutes per game off the bench.
His teammates have been encouraging him to pick it up, and his head coach has talked to him about it, as well.
His Clippers teammates encourage Odom to be more aggressive on offense. Fans, the media and his critics want Odom to stop being so passive on offense.
But Coach Vinny Del Negro said he doesn’t really have an issue with Odom’s lack of offense because his versatile forward supplies so much more.
“I’ve talked to Lamar about that,” Del Negro said. “He understands that. Lamar has to pick his spots out there where he’s comfortable at. He’s doing a good job in a lot of areas for us. But when he’s open, he’s got to make shots for us and make plays off the dribble and get to the rim.”
Increased scoring from Odom would be nice, but the reality is that the Clippers have one of the deepest benches in the league, including the leading candidate to win Sixth Man of the Year this season, Jamal Crawford, who has no trouble lighting it up on a nightly basis.
It’s more about being aggressive when the opportunities arise than it is purely about increasing points per game for Odom; any team’s offense runs more smoothly when players take good open shots rather than passing them up.
It’s worth noting that Odom is an excellent ball handler, especially for his size. So if he can get to the rim off the dribble more often and distribute to his teammates rather than scoring himself, that would be as much of a help to L.A.’s bench unit as would an increase in his personal production.