Lamar Odom Or Trevor Ariza: Who Do the Lakers Keep?

Philip SpeakeCorrespondent IJune 15, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  (L-R) Lamar Odom #7, Kobe Bryant #24 and Trevor Ariza #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers react in the second half against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The box scores below represent Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza based on their career statistics.

This offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have to decide which player they would rather retain.It is possible for both players to re-sign, but with potential free agent contracts being offered to both players, there is reason for skepticism.

After winning an NBA Championship, players that were considered role players previously, can strike it rich months after national exposure via free agency.

So who should the Lakers keep, if they can only have one of these two players?

Previous reports have said that the Lakers consider Ariza more valuable. From looking at the stats I believe that Odom is the better basketball player, and capable of helping Los Angeles to a repeat championship.

If winning next season is the priority, the Lakers would be better off with Odom. His +/- was +18.05 in this years playoffs. While Ariza was 13.09, still very good considering how the series played out.

Odom also averaged 9.1 rebounds in the postseason, Ariza just 4.2 boards per game. Assists and three-point field goal percentage were slightly better for Ariza, giving him an edge in those categories.

Odom also has a career average of 15.1 points, 8.8 boards and 4.2 assists per game. Those numbers dwarf Ariza's in comparison.

Ariza is a fine basketball player, with uncanny explosiveness and instincts. He is quick, relentless and a timely shooter. However, Lamar Odom is a God blessed basketballer. He is 6'10" and 230 pounds with point guard ball handling skills. Dude was born to play ball.

If the Lakers really want to win next year, they will try and re-sign both players.

The game is a business and while Ariza is fun to watch I would not give him a huge deal.

Jordan had Scottie Pippen, who averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

Odom is as close as they come to Pippen, with 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists.

If Kobe wants to get to six rings, he should whisper in an ear or two about Lamar.

If I had to pick between them, give me Odom in a heartbeat. He was great in college and has been almost all-star caliber every season of his pro career.

Stars need potential studs to carry them in key moments. Odom has been and will be a great steady presence for years to come.


Lamar Odom career statistical averages

Career 66560536.50.4630.3140.7012.


Trevor Ariza career statistical averages, through four seasons

Career 3115220.00.4700.2990.6611.


Odom through first five seasons