11/15/2011 - 06:03
Seven Traits That Make No. 7
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.
The versatility in Lamar's game made him one of the most important contributors to the Lakers' two championships.
Since LO arrived back in LA in 2004, he's given the Lakers everything he could. He started for years as a complement to Kobe Bryant, then willingly went to the bench when the team acquired Pau Gasol. He can shoot and pass, rebound and defend, play the 5 or the 1. Anywhere you put him, LO fits and he's a big reason why the Lakers have won two titles in the last three seasons.
Over the next two weeks at LamarOdom.com, we'll spotlight the seven aspects of Lamar's game — through seven individual performances — that make him one of the most versatile players in basketball.
1. LEAD SCORER
The present-day Lakers have so many options, it's not often that Lamar Odom is asked to carry the load by himself anymore.
But back before the Lakers days of Pau Gasol or Ron Artest, before LA brought Derek Fisher back and when Andrew Bynum was just a rookie, yet to establish himself as a premiere post presence, it was Kobe and Lamar. And on opening night in 2006, with Kobe nursing a sore knee, it was just LO.
But being the lead scorer didn't phase No. 7 one bit. He simply went out and dominated. LO scored 34 points on 12-of-24 from the field in 44 minutes to lead LA to a 114-106 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Lamar has proven he can do well all by himself, but when he was brought back to LA in 2004, it was to be the complement LA needed to Kobe Bryant.
For three-and-a-half seasons, No. 7 played that role to perfection, working with Kobe to push the Lakers back into the NBA's elite after a brief drop. No game better represented the 1-2 punch than a 120-109 victory over the New York Knicks on January 29, 2008. It was just three days later that LA would trade for Pau Gasol, but on this night, it was the LO and Kobe show.
Kobe just missed out on a triple double with 24 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and Lamar was right behind him. LO scored 22 on 7-of-10 from the field and grabbed 12 rebounds in 37 minutes to push the team to victory.
Later this week, we'll look at Lamar's roles as a willing facilitator just days after the Lakers acquired Gasol, his success in the role on Sixth Man and an elite performance on a special date for LO.
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