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Lamar Odom: Veteran Forward Must Focus to Make an Impact for Clippers

EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Austin GreenCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2012

If a focused and healthy Lamar Odom shows up to training camp, the Los Angeles Clippers will be a major threat in the Western Conference this season.

The Clippers already had a talented roster, but the addition of the versatile forward gives them a dangerous weapon off the bench. Despite having the skill set of a perennial All-Star, Odom has thrived recently in a backup role.

During the 2010-11 season, Odom was perhaps the most productive bench player in the history of the NBA.

He averaged 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, while connecting on 53 percent of his field goals and 38.2 percent of his three-pointers. Only 12 players in league history have put up those numbers (h/t, Basketball-reference.com), and all of them started the vast majority of their games.

Odom was awarded the Sixth Man of the Year for his production that year, adding another line to his impressive resume, which also includes two NBA championships, one FIBA World Championship and an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection (2000).

Of course, Odom's production dropped off dramatically in Dallas last season.

Due to a lack of preparation during the lockout, various personal issues, limited minutes and perhaps the distraction of his reality TV show, Odom often looked like an out of shape zombie roaming the court.

However, if he restores the health of his body and mind, Odom will be a valuable asset for the Clippers. He's still one of the most versatile players in the NBA, capable of doing almost anything on a basketball court.

It would be an understatement to say that he struggled last season, but he's still got the same skills he's had for the better part of his 13-year career. It's not like his talent just vanished, as if his new bride Khloe Kardashian somehow stole his basketball instincts, Space Jam-style.

Odom is still a 6'10" forward who moves with the grace and agility of a guard. He's still got that smooth lefty shooting stroke, exceptional vision, solid rebound ability and the experience that comes with winning two NBA titles.

He's also cancelled his reality show and hired a trainer, which hopefully means he's ready to get back to his productive ways.

If he can do just that, then the Clippers will make some serious noise in the 2013 playoffs.

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