Is Lamar Odom Turning The Corner?


HANGTIME SOUTHWEST –
 It took Lamar Odom deep into his 17th game with the Los Angeles Clippers and some 230 minutes of floor time to finally can his first free throw of the season.

It was a big one, too, an and-one earned on a drive to the bucket in the fourth quarter of Monday’s come-from-behind, 105-104, win at the previously unbeaten-at-home Utah Jazz.

First made free throw of the season? On December 3rd? For a player of Odom’s caliber, some might call it pathetic. In L.A., they call it progress.

The strange life and times of the ever-cryptic Odom continue, only now the Clippers hope they’re seeing signs that the once-versatile forward who once thrived with that other L.A. outfit is coming around.

“He was active,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro told the Los Angeles Times. “He’s starting to get his timing back. It’s going to take some time, but he’s a weapon out there for us and he’s only going to get better with time.”

That’s what the Dallas Mavericks kept thinking, too — that Odom would eventually snap out of his malaise. Yet as they patiently waited for a mostly lethargic and despondent Odom to respond to second, third and fourth chances, Mavs owner Mark Cuban finally reached his limit last April, demanded to know from Odom if he was “all in,” and soon after kicked him off the team.

The Clippers did Cuban a big favor by engaging the Jazz in trade talks just before the June 30 deadline, at which point the Mavs would have had to waive Odom to get rid of him and eat the $2.4 million guaranteed on his $8.2 million salary for this season.

Looking to ease a backcourt logjam, the Clippers sent Mo Williams (and his $8.5 million contract) to the 3-point-shooting-starved Jazz in exchange for a trade exception. The Clippers took in Odom at his full salary, believing a return to L.A. would psychologically land him in a comfort zone and physically invigorate him.

Through one month, the Clips weren’t getting much of a return. Odom has often appeared exhausted after short stints and incapable of aiding any unit Del Negro might include him.

Check out his averages and percentages: 2.2 points, 29.8 percent shooting, 12.5 percent from 3-point range (2-for-16), 33.3 percent from the free throw line (1-for-3), 3.3 rebounds and 13.8 minutes — less court time than only Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf (both of whom combine to make a quarter of Odom’s salary).

And then came Monday night and Odom’s fourth-quarter explosion — five consecutive points, four rebounds and a steal in 6:35. He finished with a season-high seven points and six rebounds, four coming on the offensive glass, where hustle and hard work typically win out.

He tied his season-high of three field goals, also accomplished in the previous game when he scored six points. Get this: Odom’s 13 points in the last two games equals his output over the previous 11 games.

“Slowly but surely, it’s coming,” Odom said after the game. “I’ve just got to keep taking my time. I’m getting better in practice. All I can do is keep plugging away game by game.”

The Mavs heard the same mantra from Odom for four months, and a time or two even believed he was turning a corner. The Clippers are thinking the same way the Mavs did: a 6-foot-10 forward with a ball-handling skills and 3-point range who can score inside would be a rare and valuable bench commodity.

Cuban and the Mavs are next to get an up-close look at Odom when they visit the Clippers on Wednesday night on ESPN.

So, just as we did at the conclusion of each episode of the now-postponed “Khloe & Lamar,”  we breathlessly what to see what will happen next.

17 Comments

  1. Rageahol says:

    Why is Ralph Lawler not in the Hall of fame yet?

  2. javajim says:

    lamar will only get better as he plays more. after all he was the best laker in his tenure there. i see no reason why he couldn’t give even blake a fight for minutes once he’s 100%

  3. CP3toStayinLA says:

    Odom will be just fine, and all those people who doubt him and say the Clippers made a mistake, will have to eat their words and finish their haterade juice.

  4. Clipperssssss says:

    Odom can get just 30% better as a player he will be helpful coming off the bench. however if it was up to me I would have found better players for $8 million

  5. LakersWillWin says:

    It is sad what people say about Lamar. Watching him last night in the first half he seemed a little stuck to the floor walking in mud, but as the game progressed I started seeing spurts of that energy he used to have. I also read something today about the “50 most worthless basketball players” and somehow he made the list. It really is sad to see people judging LO by his Mavs/early Clipper days. Mental health problems/depression really affects people more than anyone understands, and for people to judge him over it is sickening. I hate some of these blogs. I hate that writers ALLOW some of these comments to be posted. Odom is such an amazing basketball talent, and I really hope he gets close to where he was. Remember, he WAS 6th man of the year not that long ago, and he may be just a shell of who he was. But shells can be cracked,

    • Chris says:

      Clippers will likely be the deadliest team in the west if Odom gets back to his old self. We already have pretty much the entire Clipper bench posing a threat after all. Looking forward to seeing if he can pull it off.

      • LakersWillWin says:

        I agree. Clippers are looking great. Lets see if little brother got the better “genes” and out-muscles big bro. Could you imagine Lakers Vs. Clippers WCF? That would be basketball heaven. Wins or losses though I still back my Lakeshow no matter what.

    • RondoTheDramaQueen says:

      I agree, it’s so easy to sit back and judge someone’s heart or to be critical of someone, I am guilty of doing it. I hope the best for him.

  6. bunbury says:

    Odom’s malaise was due to lack of work ethic on the gym. simple. i have seen other players been there, and they never recovered—- shawn kemp, steve francis, marbury, mcgrady just to name a few.

    • Mack says:

      T-Mac starts to go downhill after those back injuries. If u’re mentioning him after recovering , I don’t know but those back injuries are what causes him to lose his touch in the first place.

  7. rich says:

    Chloe has more fight in her.

  8. Flying Raijin_41 says:

    nobody care about lamar odom…

  9. Game Time says:

    The Clippers aren’t getting the same production from Odom that they did from Williams because Odom isn’t there to replace Mo; that’s what Crawford has been (exceptionally) doing. Odom is still dead weight to me, but as a Clipper fan I respect him for how he played his 1st time as one. I hope he gets his game going because I know he’s putting forth the effort.

  10. Zaraki says:

    how was any of that video about Lamar “turning the corner” ? It should of been titled Clippers turning the corner