11/23/2011 - 13:11
The Total Package
At the foundation of every basketball player's game is the ability to do something — shoot, score, pass, rebound or defend— better than their opponent
But the foundation of Lamar Odom's game is versatility and the ability to do many things better than most players.
We've already detailed Lamar's abilities as a lead scorer, through the scope of an October 2006 game against Phoenix, and as a complement, in a January 2008 game against the Knicks. We've focused on Lamar's abilities as a facilitator when Pau Gasol arrived in LA in February 2008. We chronicled how LO stepped back to become the sixth man in 2008-2009 and we even looked at his performance as a center, when he became a leader for Team USA.
But those are just five traits of seven that make LO the player he is for the Lakers. Today we'll spotlight the final two of those seven aspects that make Lamar one of the most versatile players in basketball.
ON THE GLASS
Despite his ability to score and pass like a guard, Lamar wouldn't be a complete big man if he couldn't hold his own in the post. But not only can LO hold it down, he's also shown a unique ability on the glass unmatched by many of his peers.
The best example of that came last season when, on February 1, 2011, No. 7 dominated the Houston Rockets with a 20/20 night for the ages. Spot starting for an injured Andrew Bynum, LO grabbed 20 rebounds and scored 20 points in a team-high 49 minutes to lead the Lakers to an overtime victory over Houston.
Lamar's second half outburst was a key in the Lakers's win as he grabbed eight offensive boards in the process and scored 16 of his 20 points after halftime.
"I just kind of kept going and going and going and going until I started to feel comfortable out there offensively," LO told ESPN LA. "I always try to play a complete basketball game and I just took my time."
While the 20/20 night against the Rockets may have been Lamar's most complete performance of the 2010-2011 season, it was LO's durability that helped the Lakers come out on top in another overtime thriller.
Few players in the NBA have been as completely reliable over the last two seasons as No. 7. Through two 82-game seasons, a trip around the world with team USA and six playoff series, LO hasn't missed a single game. And when called upon, he is able to give the Lakers as many minutes as they need.
On March 22nd, LA needed an ironman performance and Lamar delivered. LO logged an exhausting 55 minutes that night, scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Lakers won a triple overtime thriller, 139-137 over the Phoenix Suns. But after the draining performance, LO was still as jovial as ever.
"It was the perfect time [for triple overtime], with the [NCAA] tournament going on. A triple overtime game is always fun to play in.... It's great to be a part of," Lamar said. "I'm tired, I'm ready to go home and I'm in the mood for pancakes."
Lamar's total toolbox of talent makes him one of the most special players in basketball today. Through his career, from Los Angeles to Miami and back again, LO has had dozens of performances that lived up to his nickname of The Package. But one stands out above all others.
It was March 24, 2008 and the Lakers were in the midst of crushing the Pacific Division during a season that would take Lamar to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career. But on this night, with their bench thin, the Lakers would need Lamar more than ever.
Both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol missed the game due to ailments, so LO stepped up and played all 48 minutes against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. Then, when the home team forced overtime, LO played five more minutes to lead LA to a win. Lamar's remarkable line included all 55 minutes of game action, 23 points on 10-of-15 from the field, 21 rebounds, five assists, two steals and five blocks.
It was a unique performance accomplished by few in league history and it's just another reason why Lamar Odom is the Total Package.