Art Thompson III of the Orange County Register Blog wrote:
In its annual NBA preview, Sports Illustrated touted Lakers forward Lamar Odom as its predicted choice for the sixth man of the year award.
“If I remain a sixth man for the whole year, why not,” Odom said, when asked before Friday’s final exhibition game, if that was an achievable feat. “The perfect thing, the beautiful thing about my game is that I can fill any role.”
The prospect of coming off the bench was a topic that I reported the Lakers’ coaching staff broached with Odom months before the start of training camp. But once Lakers coach Phil Jackson gave it more than just a passing thought, Odom initially balked, stating that Jackson must have bumped his head.
Now, however, Odom apparently is embracing it.
Not too many players have the humility to do that,” Odom said. “To start their whole career and then come off the bench, without a problem. I’m really comfortable. Whatever the team needs me to, that’s what I’ll do.”
Odom has been a fulltime starter throughout his previous nine NBA seasons. He was a starter in his lone season in college at Rhode Island and a starter throughout his high school career in New York City.
In fact, Odom said the last time he recalled not being a starter was when he was 10 years old, playing on an AAU travel team. Of course, he was playing in a 17-and-under tournament at the time.
“It’s been done before, so it’s no big deal to me,” Odom said. “To be successful, to play for championships, that doesn’t come around often. So, I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m a humble dude. I’ll put my ego aside.”
Odom is aware that critics have charged that he underachieves and that he is much too content on being a facilitator rather than being a dominating force in situations in which he can.
“I’ve been ripped, a lot,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of shots…even for delivering. Even when I do deliver, to a lot of people, it’s not enough. Or they find a way to criticize me delivering.”
But what the 6-foot-10 Odom can bring to the second unit conceivably could make the Lakers more formidable than they were in the second half of the 2007-2008 season.
“Whatever my game brings,” Odom said. “Another rebounder, someone willing to pass the ball and play team basketball. Get out on the break, make things happen for others.”