Lakers Yet To Miss Lamar Odom
Mitch Kupchak knew something that no one else did- dumping Lamar Odom looks smarter and smarter with each passing day. Odom to the Mavericks was the NBA equivalent of when the Philadelphia Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins.
McNabb was coming off of a solid season where he made the Pro Bowl and led the Eagles to an NFC East title. During the following offseason he was traded to interdivisional rival Washington Redskins for two draft picks. It seemed a curious move, considering he was coming off a solid year, the cupboards were bare in Philly outside of Mike Vick a year removed from prison and trading him to an arch rival who the team would go head to head with during the season seemed curious. But within a month during the next season, it became obvious why the Eagles dealt McNabb- because he was done.
Nine games into the 2011-12 NBA season Kupchak looks like the smartest guy in the room. Not only did he dump a famously mercurial player who was surrounded by doubts about excelling outside of Phil Jackson’s Triangle Offense, but he saved the Lakers as much as $18 million dollars in salary and luxury tax penalties. By using a combination of Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts, the versatility and size that Odom brought to the table has not been sorely missed. Murphy and McRoberts have combined to average 9.4 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.0 spg and 1.0 bpg in 44 mpg.
Sure, you could argue that Odom hasn’t performed as well so far this season because he is in a new environment, in a new scheme, and there is something to be said for that. But, that doesn’t change the fact that he showed up to the Mavericks out of shape, something neither he nor head coach Rick Carlisle have tried to dispute.
Said Odom last week, “I’ll go out and keep trucking, working hard, and when my legs come under me you’ll see a different player.”
“This is still ugly for me. I’m used to really playing at a high level. I could really help this team. There are so many plays, so many plays, basketball plays. I’ll just keep working and working and working until I get to that level that I’m used to playing at.”
Mavericks fans better hope so. Through nine games he’s only played 21+ minutes three times and is only averaging 19.9 mpg. His per game averages are all at career low levels but the most shocking is his .292 shooting percentage.
After the Odom trade, many NBA pundits were claiming the Mavs were even better than they were during the championship run a year ago, that Odom would ease the burden of losing Tyson Chandler and that the Lakers had basically mailed the season in by trading him to a rival. The Lakers certainly don’t look like world beaters with a 6-4 record (though they do lead the Pacific Division), but they have to feel better than Dallas does at 4-5.
And nobody feels better than Mitch Kupchak.