It’s no secret that the term “underachiever” and Lamar Odom have found each other in the same sentence quite a few times over the past decade. The pressure to reach his full potential heightened even more when Lamar was dealt to the Lakers in the infamous Shaq trade. He was expected to be Kobe’s new sidekick – his Scottie Pippen. Although he has averaged nearly a double-double over his six seasons in Los Angeles, Lamar has often found himself in the middle of trade rumors that had him replaced with a more “suitable” sidekick for Kobe.
I’ll admit, I was very critical of Lamar during his first three or four seasons playing for the Purple and Gold; I too had him as the centerpiece of trades that brought Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett, Carlos Boozer and dare I say, Jermaine O’Neal, to the Lakers. However, it wasn’t until the arrival of Pau Gasol and Lamar’s assumption of the sixth-man role, that I truly realized his value to the Lake Show.
Lamar’s worth may not come in the form of a top five player or an annual member of the Western Conference All-Star team that his talent might allow him to be; however, he’s unquestionably become an invaluable member of the Lakers during their current journey for a three peat.
We can continue to say that he has the physical gifts to be one of the league’s best players or that his full potential will never be reached, but it’s more important to cherish what the Lakers do have, instead of what’s missing. What the Lakers possess is a player who, at six-feet-ten-inches can play all five positions on the floor, crash the boards like it’s nobody’s business and become a leader that is capable of bringing the team up when they are down.