Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Lamar Odom are off to great starts this season. Odom is averaging 14 points, ten rebounds, and four assists per game, helping the Lakers to a 12-2 record.
Just like in seasons past, Lamar Odom has been in the Lakers' starting lineup this season, as Bynum recovers from off-season knee surgery. The consistent play of Odom has fans asking a famous question: should Lamar Odom remain in the starting lineup when Bynum returns? The answer is no. Here are three reasons why:
Andrew Bynum is a better defensive player: Andrew Bynum is clearly the Lakers best interior defender. What Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol lack physically, Bynum makes up for. With his physicality, Bynum is a more reliable last line of defense in the paint. The team would be silly not to start their best defensive lineup.
In addition, Bynum gets a lot of easy baskets. A majority of Bynum's baskets come off dunks and put backs. These high percentage shots get the Lakers off to fast starts in games.
If it aint broke, don't fix it: After Bynum has returned from injuries in seasons past, he has assumed his starting role and Odom has went back to being the the team's sixth man. This formula has always worked out well for the Lakers.
Odom has always welcomed his role as the sixth man without much of a complaint. Would Bynum accept his new role as the team's sixth man? I am not convinced he would. Why potentially hurt Bynum's confidence and team chemistry by changing something that has been proven to work?
Also, while Bynum starts the game, Odom usually finishes the game. Look back at all of the Lakers big games the last three seasons and more times than not it is Gasol and Odom finishing the game, while Bynum is on the bench.
Odom works better with the other bench players: Typically, Phil Jackson plays a lot of his bench players together. Odom's ability to play all five positions helps the other bench players get settled when they are on the floor at the same time. In years past, Bynum has struggled on the offensive end when playing with the reserves, seeing as he is more of a traditional post player.
Odom's versatility allows the rest of the bench players to play a more fast paced style. Not to mention, Bynum has not played with Steve Blake or Matt Barnes at all. Bynum playing more with the starting lineup makes more sense for, if nothing else, chemistry reasons.
So, as Bynum gets closer to recovering from his injury, expect him to return to his spot in the Lakers' starting lineup. As well as Odom has played this season, this is a good thing for the Lakers, as history has shown.
Who knows, if Bynum can stay healthy for the remainder of the season, allowing Odom to be a consistent sixth man instead of having to jump to the starting lineup so much, Odom will hopefully get some overdue sixth man of the year attention.