During the NBA off-season, the Los Angeles Clippers made some considerable moves to upgrade their roster. Most of the roster changes were made via free agency, adding Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Matt Barnes and re-signing Chauncey Billups, but one of the biggest acquisitions was receiving Lamar Odom from the Dallas Mavericks in the three-way trade that sent Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz.
Once the Clippers made all these additions to the squad, the consensus has been that this team is the deepest in the league with a solid backup at almost every position.
Odom talked about returning to the Clippers and made an interesting comparison with the team he’s currently playing on and the Lakers championship teams he played with via ESPN’s Arash Markazi:
“Los Angeles Clippers forward Lamar Odom says he thinks the current Clippers are the deepest team he has ever been on, and yes, that includes the Los Angeles Lakers teams he was on that went to three straight NBA Finals and won back-to-back titles.”
It’s difficult to argue Odom’s opinion here as the Clippers are incredibly deep heading into next season. Age appears to be biggest difference between the current depth chart of the Clippers and the two championship squads of the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. The Lakers were much younger with Trevor Ariza , Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic and Shannon Brown coming off the bench in comparison to Odom, Billups, Barnes, Hill and Crawford.
All of the Clippers’ reserves are over 32 and arguably on the downside of their careers. The Lakers reserves on the other hand were no older than 25 years old in ’09 and 26 in ’10 with Vujacic the oldest of the bunch with the exception of Odom. Of course, no member of these Lakers squads were able to do much of anything after leaving Los Angeles and current backups for the Clippers have been fairly successful with other teams.
Of all the new additions to the revamped Clippers’ roster, Odom has more to prove than anyone. After an ugly divorce with the Lakers and meltdown with the Mavericks that followed, Odom needs to bounce back immediately or may find his reunion with the Clippers to be short-lived.
If Odom is properly motivated and ready to prove he’s still one of the best forwards in the game, acquiring the versatile forward may have been the best move the Clippers’ front office made during the off-season. Odom’s ability to be a force off the bench and in the starting lineup If need be will definitely be a useful asset for Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro next season.
It’ll be interesting to see if Odom can put the nightmare of last season behind him and get back to form in Los Angeles. The Clippers will likely keep him on a short leash if he continues to struggle the same way he did with the Mavs.
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