Los Angeles Lakers: Is Lamar Odom an Underachiever?

Mark EvansCorrespondent IIIAugust 10, 2011

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

Lamar Odom has had a very successful career in the NBA by most standards. He has averaged 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and one block over his 12-year career. In that span, he has won two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers as well as winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. On top of all that, he won a gold medal in 2010 in Turkey with the US team.

Odom is a rare talent in the sense that he is capable of playing every position on the floor at a high level. At 6'10", he has the size and length to play forward and center. He also has the athleticism and scoring ability to be a wing player, in addition to his ball-handling talent which allows him to run the point effectively.

In Los Angeles, however, Lamar often plays second fiddle to Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum—not to mention that he has primarily been a bench player in LA.

Don't get me wrong, though. Odom takes full advantage of the glamour that Los Angeles has to offer. We all know the "Khloe and Lamar" show and he is certainly a celebrity.

Maybe I'm being too critical, but I can't help but wonder if Odom is capable of so much more. I understand that he is a two-time NBA champion, and that is certainly not to be overlooked. And he plays his role extremely well.

Odom strikes me as the type of player who can take over a game with his unique combination of size and skill. Watching big men trying to guard him while he brings the ball up the court seems comical.

At 6'10", we all see the advantage that Michael Beasley has when it comes to scoring in Minnesota, where he averaged 19 points per game last season in a primary scoring role. Beasley has a unique scoring talent, and I have to believe that Odom is a better player than Beasley and brings more to the table. I would love to see Odom on a team where he is the go-to-guy. It would be fun.

At this point, what is his interest level? We all know how terrible his diet is. From the outside looking in, he seems very lethargic on the court. It even looks as if he takes himself out of games at times. In all fairness, however, Kobe Bryant does tend to take his teammates out of the game sometimes, whether for good or bad.

Lamar Odom is a special talent and an accomplished NBA veteran. Does he have anything to prove? Probably not. He is an NBA champion.

Is he an underachiever? Maybe. A situation where he could have more of an impact on his team would be interesting, a situation in which he was the main piece.

Hey, he seems very happy in Los Angeles, and more power to him. But just for fun, I'd love to see what more he's capable of.

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