Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Early Goodbye to Lamar Odom

What I read tells me that Lamar Odom will not survive, and if by some miracle he happens to survive he will never be close to the same person again.  So, an early goodbye and tribute to Lamar Odom.

Lamar Odom was a great high school player who went to Rhode Island and was very good, but really never was the player there that most expected.  He then was drafted #4 overall in the NBA and, well, again, wasn't quite the star player that everyone expected him to be.  That said, the primary deficiency in Odom's game was that he was never a 20+ ppg scorer.  He was an excellent all-around player and he has a lifetime Defensive Rating of 104, which is excellent.

Lamar Odom had 8 seasons were he accounted for at least 3.0 Defensive WS, tied for 20th best all-time among non-centers.  In addition, his 41 career DWS ranks him 36th among non-centers.

In the 6 seasons 2005-06 through 2010-11, Odom rolled up roughly 48 of his career 77 Win Shares.  It is believed by most in today's game that 7.0 WS in a season is a border line all-star level of play.  Odom averaged 8 over his 6 best years.  Remarkably, however, he never played in an all-star game.  His only NBA award, other than 6th Man of the Year, was being all-rookie 1st team, 

Lamar was a very key cog in the Lakers teams who went to the finals 3 times and won twice during that period.   As stated above, he won 6th Man of the Year in 2010-11.

Odom was a perfect player to play with Kobe and Pau Gasol - he didn't need, or necessarily even want, to be a star.  His skills were sharpest as a passer, ball handler and defender.  In fact, if you review Odom's versatility by looking for seasons of 14-7-3 and 3 DWS, you see that Odom had 5 such seasons, the same as Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen.    In the 3 Laker title appearance seasons, Odom contributed 6.4 playoff WS, which, if you follow this blog, you know is rare for a supporting player.  (Any team would be very happy to have its 3rd best guy getting 2+ WS over a playoff season.)

Once his nearly $9,000,000 contract was unloaded to Dallas for a #1 pick, Odom's career and life fell apart.  Fans of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" heard all sorts of reports of Odom's drug taking and late night partying.  I have no idea what Lamar did or what caused it, but from a distance it almost appeared as if his heart was broken.  He was a key cog on a world championship team and once they stopped being world champions (being swept by Dallas in 2011) the Lakers dumped Lamar.  Again, this is pure speculation, but I think the decision by the Lakers to abandon him resulted in a downward spiral from which he never recovered.

Similar players from a statistical standpoint include Larry Johnson and Chris Webber and Terry Cummings.  So Lamar Odom was a very, very good player, a cog on two title teams, and most people seemed to think he was a good guy, before his trade to Dallas and ultimate downfall.

 Goodbye, Lamar. 

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