The Lakers are Kobe Bryants' team there is no doubt about it. Everything Laker revolves around him—he is the face of the franchise.
But as we all know, all great players need a partner in crime—someone he can count on when opponents are gearing their defense against him.
That second player is a person who can play two positions well. Ideally, it should be a SF/PF.
You can make the argument that it is Pau Gasol, and not Odom, that fits the bill.
But for the Lakers that person is Lamar Odom. Gasol's game is more post-oriented, however, Odom has the ability to operate more outside the paint and make his teammates better, just like Kobe.
If Odom plays consistent basketball, then the Lakers will win hands down.
I know, they have Kobe and they might win anyway, but how did that work out for them last season?
In that case you can argue they didn't have Bynum, but he is here now, and he has been less than effective in defending the paint.
Every team needs a Pippen-like player or is searching for one. Players like Grant Hill and Tayshaun Prince in the past were compared to Pippen. Hill, before his injuries, probably would have lived up to, and surpassed, Pippen. If he had remained healthy, the NBA would have been looking for the next Grant Hill.
As for Prince, the Detroit Pistons' system did not need him to be a primary ball handler. After they traded Billups they tried to make Prince fit that role and failed miserably. Because of his slight build and balky back, Prince looked weary during the season.
The closest thing to Pippen is Lamar Odom. At 6'10'' he is a handful. He can handle the rock, pass, rebound, and shoot. Odom is the ultimate utility man. Plug him in at any position and he fits seamlessly.
He is the perfect complement to Kobe.
The only problem is that Odom doesn't bring it every night. His work ethic is questionable, and it has caused the Lakers to let him become an unrestricted free agent.
Odom's penchant for consuming massive amounts of sweets has also been revealed. ESPN even went as far as to ask a well-known doctor if this habit has affected his game. The doctor adamantly stated yes.
Marvin Harris of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts had a sweet tooth, but not to the extent that Odom has.
He will wake up in the middle of the night and eat a piece of candy. After games his personal assistant will line up all his favorite confectionery treats in the backseat of his SUV.
Any parent knows that if you give a child enough candy they will eventually crash and burn from a sugar high. Odom exhibits signs of this with his uneven play.
The Lakers need Odom to be at his best; they should line up as much candy as he needs during time outs and half-time. This will definitely ensure that Odom is at his best and give them a better chance of winning, even if they have the Mamba scoring at will.
Lamar's addiction to candy may be the cause of the Lakers letting him walk after the season. I cannot imagine another reason why they did not extend him last year.
He says he wants to remain a Laker, but I doubt Kobe wants him around. Bryant is known for his tremendous work ethic and I am sure he is more than annoyed at Odom's sugary habits.
The Candy Man's best year was when he was paired with Wade, when his talent was in full display. The Lakers were very happy to get him because now they had their Pippen—a guy who could play four positions and was a better than average passer for his height.
If the Lakers win the championship Odom will demand a higher price. However, I doubt that the Lakers will overpay to keep him. Plus, Kobe hasn't publicly stated he wants Odom back and that they need him.
There are quite a few destinations where Odom can go and be part of a contending team.
This would be a perfect fit for Odom. He would play the same role he did when he was paired with Wade, and James includes his teammates more so than Bryant. Imagine Odom at the four and James at the three. When James needs a rest they have another facilitator.
Hedo Turkoglu is a free agent, and the Magic have the salary cap room to add him. They can then slide Lewis to the three and Odom can play the four. He would take over the role Turkoglu plays in the fourth quarter. He can also keep the offense flowing when Howard is taking a rest.
If he doesn't mind coming off the bench (which he is already doing), this would be a scary lineup. When Perkins is resting, the Celtics can get more athletic by sliding Garnett to the five and use Odom at the four. He can even spell Paul Pierce for a couple of minutes.
Out of the three teams, I think Cleveland or Boston would be better for him. Both teams have players who could probably get the candy man to stop living up to his moniker.
Those are the next logical destinations for Odom if he really cares about championships, and not money.