Archive for the 'Lamar Odom' Category

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Podcast – Schuhmann on Odom, Team USA

After five days in Las Vegas with Team USA, Lakers forward Lamar Odom has emerged as what one reporter called a likely starter heading into the World Championships in Turkey, which begin in late August.

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann, who was there in Sin City covering Odom and the rest of America’s roster through four practices and an intrasquad scrimmage, joined us via podcast to discuss what he saw.

Schuhmann detailed why he thinks Odom is likely to start either at power forward or center, explained how playing center in international play is different from doing so in the NBA and broke down the rest of the lineup he thinks Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski may utilize.

To listen, click below:

Odom’s Versatility a Key for USA

61139458With an advanced skill set almost entirely unique to his 6-10 frame, Lamar Odom has made himself indispensable to the Lakers, a player capable of offering a motley crew of functions critical during two straight championship runs.

Rebounding at both ends? Check. Passing? Check. Scoring from the post or on the perimeter? Perhaps not consistently, but sure. Defense on bigs in the paint? Yup. Defense on the perimeter? Indeed. Ball-handling, shot blocking, creating turnovers with steals, or locker room humor? You got it.

But unlike teammates Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, Odom’s never won a gold medal on the international level*, something he’d like to remedy with team USA at August’s World Championships in Turkey, no matter where he plays.
*Odom played for the (disappointing) bronze-medal winning team at the 2004 Olympics.

61139451“I don’t have a true position,” he told NBA.com’s John Schuhmann while in Las Vegas for USA camp. “Whatever you need me to do. If this was baseball, they would call me a utility guy.

“I’ve always looked at basketball like that. Do as many things as possible. That way you can help the team. What about if you’re off shooting? You’ve got to rebound, still defend. That’s the game of basketball.”

Such words are familiar to anyone who’s listened to Odom speak in a basketball setting.

And while playing just 16 minutes in a Saturday evening intrasquad scrimmage in Vegas, Odom’s final line showed him to be doing a bit of everything, even as he was obviously playing himself back into basketball shape: 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 points, 1 steal, 1 block.

With the Lakers, Odom is almost always flanked by Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, but for the U.S., he started at center, a relative term at least to a degree in international basketball. The style of play and wider lane make it more difficult for post play, and since the remaining true centers on the team – Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez and JaVale McGee – have less experience and versatility than L.O., he seems almost a certainty to make the squad.

The roster of 19 players is set to be cut to 14 or 15 by Monday in advance of training camp – opening Aug. 10 in New York – for the world championships.

Stay tuned until Monday afternoon, when we’ll be posting a podcast with Schuhmann detailing the rest of Odom’s week in Vegas.

2010 Exit Interviews: Lamar Odom

odomLakers forward Lamar Odom averaged 10.8 points and 9.8 rebounds with 3.3 assists in the regular season, and 9.7 points with 8.6 boards and 2.0 assists in the postseason en route to his second straight championship.

Odom’s defense was strong throughout the season, particularly late in games, capped by a terrific effort in L.A.’s championship-clinching Game 7, part of the reason he said he was so tired that he could fall asleep in his chair while doing the interview.

Here’s what else the Lakers’ lanky lefty had to say:

- Odom’s heading straight to Mexico with his wife Khloe for two weeks, before returning to address some of the injuries he played through during the season.
- On his exit interview: “It was quick.” Odom did add that he’s thinking of playing a little more small forward next year.
- More on playing small forward: “The triangle offense, our team, my size … using our ability to post up to kind of slow teams down. Our defense is predicated so much on our offense, I think I can help our team. That could be one of the lineups that we go to.”
- More on his shoulder: “I don’t know (about surgery). I’m going to take a few weeks off then get MRI’s to see where I’m at with my whole body. My body is my business. My knee is fine, but my shoulder is something that I always worry about a little bit.”
- (On winning the championship): “If feels good to be on top of the NBA. I can remember the game we lost in Boston, and how we were able to get back here, and have the opportunity to finally beat Boston. The feeling is amazing.”
- (On maturing): “I’m trying to become more responsible on and off the court. Protect my image. I’m trying, it’s a work in progress. I’m going to remain the same person.”
- (Odom is verrrry tired): “I’m tired, man. I got married in front of the reality world … came to training camp the next day … I’ll fall asleep right now. Right on this chair.”
- (On being there for Ron Artest, his childhood friend and teammate from Queens, NY, throughout the season): “I think from us having the relationship that we have, it was easy for him to listen to me. It was a voice that he’s used to hearing. I was most happy for me. We got to feel it before and understood how it felt. Yeah it was the Celtics and we wanted it, but for people to understand the work it takes to defend guys like he does. He’s always worked hard ever since we were small. I was happy that he got to (show the world) how good he is.”

Nice Kicks, Lamar

D072184023.jpgA shot of Lamar Odom’s Kobe Zoom V’s, featuring No. 7.

Bryant, Odom on Team USA’s Initial Roster

blog_100210bryantodom_teamusaLakers Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom have been named to USA Basketball’s initial 27-man roster that will compete in various events between 2010-2012 leading up to the 2012 London Olympic games.

Bryant joins eight other returning members of the 2008 team that captured gold in Beijing.

“This is another important step in the reassembling of the USA National Team for the next three years of competitions that will include the FIBA World Championship in 2010, and if we qualify, the 2012 Olympics in London. Unlike 2006-08 when we were first starting the program, this time we have the benefit of including players who were members of the last national team, while also incorporating players who were involved in our pipeline the last couple of summers,” said Jerry Colangelo, who also served as Managing Director of the 2006-08 USA National Team.

Odom is no stranger to international competition as he was a member of the 2004 team that played in Greece.

For the full roster visit USAbasketball.com

Lamar Odom Nears Historical Mark

Lamar OdomSo natural and unique is his game and his contribution, Lamar Odom has at least to a certain degree existed under the radar throughout his NBA career.

Yet with just eight more assists, the lanky lefty will become the seventh fastest player in league history to reach 6,000 career rebounds and 3,000 assists, a true mark of his versatility.

In 714 career games, Odom has amassed 10,584 points, 2,992 dimes and 6,338 rebounds, and is set to join an extremely impressive club of 3,000 and 6,000:

1) Larry Bird (574 games)
2) Chris Webber (667)
3) Kevin Garnett (681)
4) Oscar Robertson (688)
5) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (691)
6) Wilt Chamberlain (691)

If Odom doesn’t drop eight assists on Wednesday evening against the Bobcats, he’ll likely do so on Friday against Denver, which would tie him for 7th place alongside Lakers legend Elgin Baylor with 716 games.

Not too bad, huh?

Lakers Excited to Meet President Obama

Before the results to the 2008 Presidential election became official on Nov. 4 of that year, many of the Lakers players were almost as plugged into the outcome as they were the team scouting reports heading into NBA Finals seven months later.

Then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama won in November, and the Lakers followed suit by defeating Orlando in Game 5 in June to secure not just the NBA title, but a trip to the White House to meet the President seven months later a day before L.A.’s Tuesday night game against Washington.

Among Obama’s numerous supporters within the NBA community is Derek Fisher, who relayed his and his team’s sentiments about Monday’s meet and greet prior to L.A.’s Sunday evening game in Toronto.

“We’re all excited about it,” said Fisher. “It’s one of those rare times in an individual lifetime where there is an election or an event that changes the course of the next 30, 40, 50 years.

“A lot of people, including us, feel like President Obama’s election was one of those moments. So to be the first team that gets to actually go and meet him, see the White House and be apart of the entire event is pretty cool.”

Fisher’s backup, Jordan Farmar, expressed similar feelings.

“I’m really excited,” he noted. “I’ve never been to the White House, and being a guest there will be special.“

Farmar actually had a chance to introduce President Obama before a speech in Newport Beach in the summer of 2008, and said he jumped at the opportunity after his agent set up the details.

“It was really special, and President Obama was really cool,” said Farmar, who spoke to Obama for about 15 minutes before the speech. “We talked basketball right away; we had just lost to Boston in the Finals then, but we’ll have something better to talk about this time.”

Yet in his haste to pack for L.A.’s eight-game road trip (three down, five to go), Farmar forgot to pack a suit to wear to the ceremony.

“I had to go get one made (Sunday in Toronto),” he said. “You can’t just go to the White House in jeans and a t-shirt.”

Fortunately, Farmar’s suit was delivered during the game in Toronto; he certainly couldn’t afford to be less than sharp as the first team in what is a predominantly African American professional league met the country’s first African American President.

“A lot of us never thought we would see this day,” said Farmar, who like Obama comes from a bi-racial background. “I feel very special to be apart of it and to have the chance to share this with my teammates – we all get along and really care about each other, so it’s really meaningful.”

One of those teammates, Lamar Odom, responded immediately to a locker room question about his favorite president.

“President Obama, in a land slide,” he said before offering some perspective. “My grandmother was born in Georgia in 1923 … A lot of people coming up didn’t have hope … I’m looking forward to going tomorrow and meeting him face-to-face.”

While Odom joked that he also loved Obama because he was a fellow lefty, his eyes sparkled a bit as he imagined taking a photo with the President.

“Just having that picture in my house in Queens where I was born and raised … that will be a big deal to my family.”

In Lamar’s Words: Guarding Dirk

Lamar Odom Dirk NowitzkiPrior to Wednesday’s game against Dallas, we sat down with Lamar Odom to discuss guarding one of the NBA’s best scorers of today and the last decade, Dirk Nowitzki.

I first asked Odom where his focus lies in playing Nowitzki, who has such a unique skill set:

You have to play the percentages, but it’s tough because in this game, you can’t have someone scoring in the paint. The contradiction of it all is that you have to make him take jump shots, and that just happens to be where he’s most comfortable. You just try to contest them and try to make him finish at the rim, which goes against all the rules of defense. He’s such a great scorer – he’s really good in the middle of the court. If you’ve watched NBA basketball in the last three of four years, you’ve had players post up in the middle of the floor, where it’s really hard to double-team. Dirk has a tremendous spin move and step-back (move) that at seven feet you can’t really guard … just contest it.

I was also curious how Odom thinks about dealing with Dirk in transition, because (as Odom explains) as a big man, Odom will often be responsible to sprint back on defense to get to the paint, which against Nowitzki can sometimes be fatal:

Dirk is a good defensive rebounder, and you have to be aware of where he’s at. Because he’ll grab the board, kick it (out) and then jog up the court. Sometimes as a power forward one of your responsibilities is to guard the basket, so he gets the rebound, passes it, you bust your (butt) to try to get back to the basket and protect the basket and there he is trailing for what just happens to be his strength, the three-point shot.

Artest, Odom Expected to Play vs. Rockets

We learned quite a bit after Monday’s practice on the Lakers’ injury front, which kept Lamar Odom (gastrointestinal discomfort) and Pau Gasol (left hamstring strain) out of the building but saw Ron Artest (concussion) return to the fold.

Here’s the update after Lakers shootaround on Tuesday as it relates to L.A.’s game against Houston tonight: Odom participated in shootaround and will play; Artest is expected to play; Gasol will not play.

Artest saw his neurologist on Tuesday morning and was cleared to play, though the pair will reunite prior to the game to make sure everything is go for launch.

Lamar Odom: Mr. Locker Room

Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest benchThat Lamar Odom is a great guy to have in the locker room isn’t exactly breaking news for anyone that’s been around the jovial swing man.

On the contrary, Odom has long been as one of the league’s most well-liked personalities by players, coaches and media members alike.

But after his pregame hilarity in L.A.’s locker room leading into Sunday’s game in Detroit – when Odom spent several minutes serenading his teammates with old school Bone Thugs -N- Harmony joints – it felt appropriate to mention his locker room aptitude once again.

Let’s ask Luke Walton.

“No question is he the best locker room guy I’ve ever been around,” said Walton as Odom rolled off “First of the Month” in the background. “That’s easy. It’s just how Lamar is.”

What does “best locker room guy” mean, exactly?

Well, if the locker room is really just the team, and the word “best” doubles as “most likeable,” the explanation becomes more simple. Odom, in essence, keeps the Lakers loose when they get uptight, finds ways to be boost their (or his) collective energy when they appear tired, serves as a mediator of disputes and pumps guys up if they’re feeling individually down.

Basically, he does whatever he needs to do to help the team off the court from a mental standpoint, always intent upon bringing everyone together. And since he’s such a likeable person, there’s no acting necessary.

Lamar OdomCase in point: the Lakers barely got out of the East Coast snowstorm on Saturday evening, arriving after 3 a.m. on Sunday morning in Detroit, and the team was collectively weary prior to that night’s game against the Pistons. Odom’s natural inclination was to pull out some Bone Thugs while skipping around the locker room, pausing to slap guys on the butt, encourage participation and what have you.

Such episodes from Odom are certainly not rare.

Another Lamar anecdote occurred at the close of Monday afternoon’s practice back in Los Angeles, while Odom was taking part in an always-heated game of four-on-four between players not named Kobe, Pau, Derek or Ron.

As game point approached, Shannon Brown took exception to Jordan Farmar’s trying to draw a charge, and began to let the accused know what he thought about it.

Odom shouted (to be more accurate, he yelled-out-in-a-non-accusatory-and-gentle-yet-somehow-still-firm way) out the following: “Just play man, come on!”

Instead of arguing or complaining further, Brown said, “My bad man, my bad” to Odom, and kept on playing. You see, nobody’s arguing with Odom; they all like him too much.

Of course, such conversations between Brown, Farmar, or fill-in-the-blank other teammates happen approximately 768 times per practice. That’s just how it goes when some of the world’s most competitive people are trying to beat one another.

But having perhaps the league’s best locker room guy to keep everything cool?

That’s certainly never a bad thing.