Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant recorded his 17th career triple-double against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, but that feat is much easier when you have players like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom on the receiving end of your passes.
Bryant scored 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Most of those assists were the result of Odom and Gasol's versatile play in the paint and in some cases on the perimeter.
Odom and Gasol combined for 40 points and 19 rebounds against the Kings, continuing a streak of dominance in the paint that has set the tone for the Lakers this season.
Through five games Gasol is averaging 23.8 points per game, 11 rebounds, and five assists while shooting 52 percent from the field.
In that same span Odom has averaged 16.6 points per game, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists while shooting an astonishing 70 percent from the field and 80 percent from three point range.
The strength of the Lakers' team rests on the talents of their interior players, and Gasol and Odom just might be the most talented and versatile post combination in the NBA.
The Lakers frontline of injured center Andrew Bynum, Gasol, and Odom is one of the biggest in the NBA, and even though their size hurts the opposition, it's usually their skill set that kills them.
Gasol is arguably the most fundamentally sound big man in the NBA, and his intelligence and instincts complement his natural physical abilities.
Gasol is comfortable shooting with either hand around the basket, he has impeccable footwork, and his shooting range extends at least 15 feet from the basket. But Gasol's most underrated talent may be his vision and passing ability in the paint.
It's not a stretch to call Gasol the game's best interior passer, although Odom also has a viable place in the debate.
Odom has one of the more unique skill sets in the league, and his ability to shift comfortably between the post and the perimeter creates match-up nightmares for opponents.
Odom stands around 6'11'', but he plays with the length of a seven footer in the post, and he has good enough ball-handling skills to initiate the Lakers' triangle offense from the perimeter.
There are few players in the NBA who can battle in the post and then start the fast break with their dribble like Odom. His summer in Turkey playing in the FIBA World Championships seems to have improved his confidence and leadership.
Talent has never been the problem for Odom, but inconsistency has, at least until now.
Odom has started the 2010-11 season with more assertiveness and aggressiveness than I have ever seen, and a motivated Odom alongside the highly skilled Gasol gives the Lakers an advantage no other team can boast of.
Their dominance isn't limited to the offensive end since both players are solid individual defenders, and they each are adept at using their length to alter the opposition's shots.
In fact Gasol and Odom's chemistry on the court has been so impressive that it might not be a bad idea for coach Phil Jackson to consider keeping them on the court together when Bynum returns from his knee injury.
Bynum does give the Lakers toughness in the post, but he can still serve his purpose in a reserve role, and if Odom continues to play at this level it will be extremely difficult to justify relegating him to the bench once Bynum finally returns.
Gasol was named the NBA's first Player of the Week and he has the look of an early MVP candidate, but Odom's play has been just as impressive.