Lakers Need Lamar Odom to Step Up

by June 11, 2010

With the Lakers unable to expect much — if anything — from Andrew Bynum going forward, Lamar Odom has to play better than he did last night. His coach was less than impressed, as the OC Register reports: “Phil Jackson wondered himself Friday if he could jump-start Odom with some kind of charge. ‘I was thinking of an electrode,’ Jackson said. ‘Something that would really be a stimulus. What do you suggest?’ Odom was too slow reacting to plays and even just the ball in the Lakers’ Game 4 loss Thursday night. Jackson said Odom has issues he needs to get past regarding the Celtics, who beat the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals when Odom was playing heavy minutes with Andrew Bynum out for the season with a knee injury. ‘Lamar struggled two years ago in this series in this matchup,’ Jackson said, ‘and he has to break through kind of that mental gap that he had from that experience to move forward.’ Odom said after Game 4 that the Lakers as a team failed to adjust to him being in the game more instead of Bynum, who was limited by his current knee injury. About the rebounding problems in Game 4, Odom said: ‘We definitely as a team have to clean up the boards.’ Odom also preached for more ball movement in the Lakers’ offense. When Odom struggled on offense early in the series vs. Boston two years ago, Jackson changed the Lakers’ places on offense to start Game 4, moving Odom from ball-handling guard to Kobe Bryant’s attacking forward position so Odom could be closer to the basket (and Bryant could better see the whole defense to distribute the ball to teammates). But Jackson said about Odom in the recent Game 4: ‘He had a couple post‑up opportunities that he chose to step out and take the ball outside rather than post it.”’