09/25/2012 - 08:05 LO Ready to Thrive Again in LA by
With training camp just days away, Lamar Odom is getting set to begin a new chapter of his career.
The trade this offseason that sent Lamar from the Mavericks to the Clippers has afforded LO a fresh start and No. 7 plans to make the most of it.
"There are a lot of things I want to make right. I know what kind of player I am and I just want to get back to that level," he said. I told Coach [Vinny Del Negro] that I’m 100 percent in. Whatever he needs and wants to be done, I’ll be his soldier."
Maxwell Ogden of Bleacher Report expects the Clippers to lean heavily on Lamar, as the Lakers did during his last tenure in Los Angeles:
The Los Angeles Clippers are a team that loves the idea of having multiple ball-handlers on the floor at all times. That's exactly what Odom has proven to be, which is why he'll fit in nicely on the offensive end of things.
On the defensive end, Odom's size and length will be utilized to solidify a weak interior. Although DeAndre Jordan has upside as an elite shot-blocker, his fundamentals are raw and require a significant amount of honing.
As Michael Stephenson of Rant Sports points out, LO is already an upgrade over LA’s bench bigs from a season ago and the leadership and versatility that he brings to the Clippers is an upgrade.
"At the very least you can expect Odom to get about 10.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG this season, which would be a big improvement from Kenyon Martin’s 5.2 PPG and 4.3 RPG off the bench for the Clippers last season."
Ogden notes that Lamar’s assist numbers should go up as well, since he will run point often off the Los Angeles bench. Jamal Crawford, the team’s reserve point guard, is known to look for more scoring opportunities than distribution chances, so the Clips will need LO to be a distributor. He is also one of LA’s top options in the frontcourt, which should get him plenty of minutes of playing time.
"Regardless of which form he flashes, Odom will be the best option, outside of Blake Griffin, in the Clippers' weak frontcourt. For that reason, it would be fair to imagine Odom finding playing time at both power forward and center. Thus, he could become a man with the opportunity to lead a young team to the promised land."
In addition, Lamar has the potential to help the Clippers get over the hump off the court, as he brings championship experience to a franchise that lacked it. LO has always been regarded as a strong presence in the locker room and was referred to as a glue guy for the Lakers, a player who was well-liked by all teammates. That should be the case with the Clippers too. And If he can recapture the success that made him Sixth Man of the Year just one season ago, the Clippers could be looking at a huge impact, Stephenson writes:
"The Clippers are getting a 32 year old veteran who should be motivated to erase last year’s misery all together. It will be huge for a young team like the Clippers to get that veteran leadership off the bench late in big games. Odom can basically play both forward positions and center if needed, which gives them tons of options."
Adding Lamar and fellow veteran Grant Hill to the bench should also upgrade LA’s defense on the reserve unit, according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com. Both players are hard workers who are known to make their teams better on both ends of the floor. The Clippers ranked 18th in the NBA in defense last season and will need to be better to make a deep playoff run.
Ogden anticipates that LO has something to prove in his return to LA, not just to those that watched him struggle in Dallas last season, but to himself as well.
"Plain and simple, expect Odom to play like a man on a mission. The 2012-13 NBA season is one of supreme importance to Lamar Odom's career, as a second consecutive year of failure could lead to the end of a phenomenal career. If this is indeed Lamar Odom's last hoorah, expect him to go out with guns blazing. The Los Angeles Clippers landed themselves an inspired player with plenty to prove and everything to lose."