Despite where his attitude is at and how well he has been playing, Odom should be the X-factor for the Mavericks come playoff time. Here are five reasons why Odom will make that possible.
During those Lakers' NBA Finals runs from 2008 to 2010, Odom was a key figure in making the team a championship-quality squad. In those three playoff runs, he averaged 12.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
He hasn't been able to show his dominance so far this season, but if Odom is able to produce anywhere close to those numbers off the bench for the Mavericks, it would be a huge contribution to the team's playoff hopes.
Let's all hope the postseason Odom of old will emerge for another deep Mavs playoff run this summer.
Not many teams can say they have a 6'10" forward who can come off the bench with point guard skills.
Although he is averaging career lows in nearly every statistical category, Odom's effectiveness off the bench cannot be matched by many other teams. If he can get over this "fatigue" issue he has been having, he should be able to work into the rotation nicely.
Last season's Sixth Man of the Year has yet to show the same potential, but if his stats increased even the slightest amount it would make all the difference.
In most Mavericks fans eyes, it would be safe to say that Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi have exceeded expectations at the center position this year.
Odom was brought in this summer for some extra frontcourt relief after the loss of Tyson Chandler, but has really yet to make his presence felt.
If Rick Carlisle can get all of these guys into a three-man rotation at the post, along with being able to reduce Dirk Nowitzki's minutes, it would be a very successful coaching strategy.
Like Nowitzki, Odom is able to make shots from all over the floor, but hasn't been able to hit much of anything so far this year. A team with this much size that can have a high field-goal percentage will be hard to come by in the playoffs.
All the dust seems to have settled from the ongoing struggles earlier this month between Odom and the Mavericks higher-ups. “I’ve been pleased with how he’s played since he’s been back,” said coach Rick Carlisle to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
The jelling together should now soon take effect. Even though Cuban has yet to be too pleased so far, the relationship should continue to grow in a way that benefits both parties.
If Odom can get his mind straight and improve his physical fitness as he has improved his attitude, the Mavericks should be in good shape.
Odom may not be here more than one season, as he has expressed his discontent on more than one occasion during his time in Dallas.
If he doesn't stay in Dallas longer than this season, Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle need to get the most "bang for their buck" out of Odom. If he does not feel like contributing, simply play him more minutes to get him into better shape.
Depending on where Odom's attitude is at and his feelings toward the Mavericks, they need to get the most they can out of a player with his level of talent.