Why Lamar Odom Will Again Thrive as 6th Man with L.A. Clippers

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Why Lamar Odom Will Again Thrive as 6th Man with L.A. Clippers
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The 2011-12 NBA season was none too friendly to Lamar Odom.

After winning the 2011 NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award, Odom found himself as a mere pawn in the infamous Chris Paul trade attempt.

Although fans were quick to forget about Odom's involvement, he was not. The two-time NBA champion felt betrayed and demanded a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, thus resulting in his joining the Dallas Mavericks.

An experiment that was none too successful.

Lamar Odom finished the season with averages of just 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. This came one year after he averaged 14.4 points and 8.6 boards as a member of those hated Lakers, thus going from an award winner to an afterthought.

His Player Efficiency Rating, meanwhile, dropped from 19.50 to 9.26 in the span of one season. This time around, the numbers don't lie.

As the 2012-13 NBA season rolls around, all eyes will be on Lamar Odom as he returns to Los Angeles. This will not be his second tenure with the Lakers, however, as Odom will actually be making his return to a different L.A. franchise.

The same Los Angeles Clippers that selected him with the fourth overall draft choice back in 1999.

Odom has become quite the polarizing figure for his mental inconsistencies both on and off the court. As a result, expectations for the forthcoming season range anywhere from him returning to his All-Star caliber form to continuing his steep decline.

As for those left on the fence, expect Lamar Odom to remind the world of why he won the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year award.

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The Los Angeles Clippers are a team that loves the idea of having multiple ball-handlers on the floor at all times. That's exactly what Odom has proven to be, which is why he'll fit in nicely on the offensive end of things.

On the defensive end, Odom's size and length will be utilized to solidify a weak interior. Although DeAndre Jordan has upside as an elite shot-blocker, his fundamentals are raw and require a significant amount of honing.

For that reason, it's fair to assume that Odom will play a similar role to what Kenyon Martin did in 2011-12. The difference this time around, however, is that there is no Reggie Evans to cut into his opportunities to contribute.

In other words, the minutes will be there.

Regardless of which form he flashes, Odom will be the best option, outside of Blake Griffin, in the Clippers' weak frontcourt. For that reason, it would be fair to imagine Odom finding playing time at both power forward and center.

Thus, he could become a man with the opportunity to lead a young team to the promised land.

One could expect Lamar Odom to split time with teammate Jamal Crawford for the duties of lead facilitator of the second unit. But considering that Crawford has long been a player of the score-first mentality, it appears safe to assume that Odom will have a tight grip on those ball-distribution duties.

As a result, Odom can be expected to post between 3.0 and 4.5 assists per game.

This will be paired with double-digit scoring and roughly seven rebounds per contest. In turn, Odom will become a legitimate candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. Whether or not he wins the award could hinge on the overall success of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Plain and simple, expect Odom to play like a man on a mission. The 2012-13 NBA season is one of supreme importance to Lamar Odom's career, as a second consecutive year of failure could lead to the end of a phenomenal career.

If this is indeed Lamar Odom's last hoorah, expect him to go out with guns blazing. The Los Angeles Clippers landed themselves an inspired player with plenty to prove and everything to lose.

The Sixth Man of the Year award could be coming home to Los Angeles.

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