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Sunday, September 25th, 2011 at 3:00 pm  |  26 responses

Top 50: Lamar Odom, no. 42

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Jasmine Morales / @msjulyy

Last year we dubbed Lamar Odom a winner. This year, at No. 42, I would like to add another title to his list: Survivor.

One can compare the popular TV show Survivor to life. In the show, players don’t know the different obstacles they’re going to face. Similar to life, you never know what will be thrown your way.

One of the differences between the game and life is a guarantee that whoever wins the game will win a pize. In life, it takes a lot more than surviving a few obstacles to win. And even in life, there is no guarantee of  winning that big prize.

For Lamar Odom, life was not always peaches and cream. He grew up in Queens where the drug epidemic got a hold of his father and cancer overcame his mother. At the young age of 12, Lamar was placed in a position where he could either use the obstacles of life to push him to a better future or use his situation as a crutch as to why he never succeeded in life.

Queens was his island and in order to make it off his island he needed to overcome the obstacles being thrown his way. Like many young kids in his situation, basketball was a way out. In an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, “Wedding Edition,” Lamar explained how basketball helped him cope with his mother’s death stating, “When my mother died, I went on the court and played basketball all day, I didn’t even go in the house to eat. Just played basketball.”

Everyone has their own “survivor” story but what stands out about Lamar Odom’s story is the never-ending will to succeed. As a person who has gone through similar situations, I admire his strength and courage to continue on. I often look at the obstacles he has faced, and think, If he can do it so can I.

Last season, Odom gave the Lakers another solid season, averaging 8.7 rebounds and 14.4 points while posting career highs in three-point percentage (.382) and field-goal percentage (.530). He was awarded the Sixth Man of the Year award, becoming the first Laker to win.

Twelve NBA seasons, two NBA Championships, one gold medal, an NBA Sixth Man award and a Kardashian later, it’s safe to say Lamar Odom has won his life’s version of Survivor.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15
45 Kevin Martin Rockets SG 8
44 Andrew Bynum Lakers C 5
43 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 11
42 Lamar Odom Lakers PF 14

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://nba.com GP23

    Yeah i like Lamar, he is very versatile on the court, but he can be inconsistent at times. Last season, he did start a lot of games, and i thought he deserved to be an allstar.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Good spot for Odom considering he’s either the 3rd best player on a perennial championship contender. What does that say about Bynum that a sixth man is more valuable than you?

  • Shem

    Wow, too low in my opinion. There isn’t 42 players more valuable to their teams then Lamar Odom is to the Lakers. Then again this is going into next year rather then last year. Inspirational story though.

  • TDavis

    LO is definitely a survivor. I too thought his ranking was a tad bit low. He is one of the most versatile players to lace em up. He is one of my favorite players.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Good ish

  • ctkennedy

    i think he would be a better number 1 than AI2 but AI2 wouldnt be a better 6th man than Odom …so he has to be too low on the list

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    He’s a great player, no doubt. I guess the knock about him would be lack of consistency (sometimes) and no eye-popping stats. I could see him 2 or 3 spots higher but I think this is good.

  • Blasphemy

    Wasn’t Lamar on this list last year? How come it doesn’t show his ranking from the last list?

  • Jer Dawg

    Albeit wildly inconsistent, but he plays the right way. Unselfish, team first guy. Plays defense and tries to make right plays. I’m in LA and this guy’s personality is gold here. These NYC guys in LA are pretty cool.

  • spit hot fiyah

    @shem i don’t think they ranking them based on who is more valuable, more so who will have better stats this upcoming season. i think that’s why people feel this list undervalues defensive players a lot

  • EJ

    “…and a Kardashian later, it’s safe to say Lamar Odom has won his life’s version of Survivor” You probably shouldn’t mention Khloe when you talk about the acomplishments of Lamar.

  • http://www.slamonline.com phsyco B

    i liked lamar til i saw his stupid ass reality show

  • kobesBESTfriend

    I can’t stand this scrub…he’s the main reason we got swept by the mavs with him playing lazy on offense and defense…letting peja scortch him on 3 pointers and not attacking him on the other end knowing peja can’t guard any1…he didnt deserve that 6th man award…Jet is way better…not 2 mention his dirty play in game 4 against the mavs…he should be ashamed of how he let phil jackson depart his HOF career…filming a tv show while we r getting destroyed in the playoffs…kobe shoulda kicked his a$s..i wished they had kept Trevor and let him go

  • hiphopcop

    WOW Sounds like Kobesbestfriend has some issues lol, let me school you– with Lamar, idiot, the Lakers wouldn’t have gotten to three straight finals without him, WHY? Because he always came in for INJURED BYNUM, 3 years straight,, without Lamar, and injured Bynum and a “healthy Trevor” You get beat by the Suns, and the Nuggets the year before, Trevor can’t play the 4 or the 5 on the level Lamar can play all 5 POSITIONS, learn some basketball before you answer

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    LO is not a great player, stop it. The word “great” is thrown around too freely nowadays.

  • Drey

    It really bothers me that none of these articles have any reasoning as to WHY these players are ranked where they are. I enjoyed the storyline of this article, but that shouldn’t be what this article is about. Save it for an article in the mag, SLAM. And since I’m probably required to throw something controversial in, let’s go with Lamar is ranked this low because he has no killer instinct and has wasted a ton of potential.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    I’m pretty sure the writers do their individual top 50 lists, then the group gets together (or they tally the results) and post them based on averages? Unless the whole Slam Team gets together in the slam-dome and has a sitdown (or Skype, or gotomeeting, whatever) discussion that could probably last weeks…..

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’m not convinced he’s better than Bogut either.

  • kobesBESTfriend

    well maybe if he developed a reliable jumper and played hard nosed defense we’d have a 4peat this year but no he’s 2 worried about reality shows and a bad 1 at that…it makes me sick…no way hes top 50

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Kobe aint kicking Lamar’s ass.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Good spot for him. Very important player for the Lakers. He was the bench last year. I hope they keep LO for another couple years. He may take plays off, but the ones he doesn’t he shows how good he really is. It’s always hard for me to rate Odom becuase he has the skills of a top 10 PF, but he has the mindset of a rookie sometimes.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Sorry JT, I did misuse “great.” In retrospect, “good” is a much better adjective. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Bambe

    Will we see only one chapion (Dirk) in the top 50?

  • http://cracked.com Jones

    LO can dribble and pass like a PG but he can still rebound and defend like a seven footer.

  • DukeFromDeep

    In theory lamar can do alot of things. I liked him in Miami even. But overall he has been a bit of a disappointment. And ending up a Laker doesn’t help much either.

  • mib

    lamar odom is a unreal talent, he has had a solid 14 yr NBA career, he could of been a 25 points a game scorer made 8 all star teams but he is not selfish enough to be best player on team, he passed the ball he really cared for his teammates to do good also so he always been a 2 tear player with mvp talent but 14 years millions of dollars 2 nba chips 1 gold medal, id say he has had a great career and if doesnt come back for 15th season then he can retire at age 33 and it is sad had end on this recent news of him being a drug addict so it would be great c lamar come back and have a 2 or 3 more seasons playing god and then retire, dont wanna end career on this note so has comeback

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