Rumors are flying that Lamar Odom will be announced as the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year at a noonpress conference.
If the reports are true then LO stands to become the first Laker to ever receive the top honor for a non-starter in the NBA. Some will be quick to point out that Odom was a starter to begin the season and has filled in for Andrew Bynum throughout the year. Fact of the matter is a player need only come off the bench more times than he starts to be eligible for the honor. Lamar’s 35 starts against 47 appearances off the pine make him a perfect candidate when you marry that with his 14, 8 and 3 on average with 53% shooting.
This is truly an honor for Odom.
It was just a couple years ago that Phil Jackson had to approach the perennial starter with the notion of bringing him off the bench. Perhaps reluctant but never insubordinate, Odom embraced the role and has thrived.
Known for his dynamic skill set but inconsistent play, LO found a true rhythm in being a 6th man. You could always tell when Odom was just thinking too much on the court instead of just letting the game come to him. Thanks to the sage teachings of Phil, Odom has been able to get a better idea of how to contribute as a 6th man and occasional starter.
Combine the acceptance of a new role with a willingness to take a pay cut and you can see why Lamar is so beloved among his teammates and coaches. The native New Yorker has been instrumental in the rebuilding of the Laker dynasty.
And to think all Mitch Kupchak had to give up was Shaquille O’Neal for the services of Odom. Not exactly Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol. But if this team can pull it together and get another banner hung in Staples Odom will have helped bring as many titles to Los Angeles as Shaq. And that says a lot when you really step back and see the big picture.