Life Without Lamar

Kurt —  December 13, 2006

Well, that sucks. If one guy deserved a season without misfortune it was Odom.

First things first, we’ll know more later today on just how long Odom will be out after the MRI is completed. Early guesses ranged from one to six weeks, depending on who you listen to. But as kwame a. said in the comments on the Rockets game, best not to rush him back and have it never get quite right. It’s a long season and the Lakers need Odom healthy.

Look for power-forward-by-committee trio of Radmanovic, Cook and Turiaf to fill in for Lamar. Also, Luke Walton will see time at the four with Kobe at the three and Mo Evans at the two — that’s the lineup that went +6 in the waning minutes in Houston to secure with win. My guess is that matchups will determine the playing time on a night-to-night basis, along with who gets the hot hand. Much like Phil has done late in games at the point guard spot.

For example, I would guess Turiaf (the best defender of the four) will get a good amount of time on Dirk Nowitzki tonight. But that is also a sign of just how everyone will have to step up — Turiaf can’t handle Dirk out on the wing (nor can Cook, Walton or Radman, they are all too slow) so he’s going to need rotation help from Kwame and Bynum to stop Dirk from driving for uncontested shots.

It’s going to take the entire team because Odom was bringing a lot to the table. His shooting numbers have been almost identical to Kobe: 53.2% (eFG%), 58.6% true shooting percentage, 35.8% on threes, he was +1.9 per 48 minutes (same as Kobe) and he was the only Laker besides Kobe using more than 20% of the offense while on the floor. We’re talking 18.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per 40 minutes played — and Odom has been playing more minutes per game than Kobe.

This is where the Lakers depth can be of use — last night Luke Walton stepped up, another night it may need to be Kwame, another night Smush, another night Cook. Then there may be a night it’s just the Kobe show again. And that’s just the scoring; the bigs are going to have to focus on rebounding because Odom may have been the team’s most consistent rebounder.

I think this team has what it takes. I just hope we don’t have to watch the Odomless Lakers for too long.

Kurt

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10 responses to Life Without Lamar

  1. I was with you all the way, Kurt, until you listed those who might “pick up the slack.” In addition to Walton, Kwame for sure. Radman and Turiaf have already shown the potential. I’ll even consider Cook. But then you seem to wander into fantasy land.

    I will instantly convert from a “Smushaphobe” to a “Smushaholic” on the night that Smush Parker gets his first triple double.

  2. ugh, just when we were about to see what this team was really all about this has to happen. im worried about rebounds more than anything. lamar hid kwames weakness on the boards, i hope kwame can step that part of his game up. should be an interesting few weeks. i was wondering to myself the other day if we would ever see a line up with kwame and drew out there at the same time. seems like it might actually happen at some point in the next 30 days.

  3. Kwame and Bynum are going to have to step and be legitimate threats to score on a consistent basis. Cook is horrible defensively. He will be fine as a scoring threat off the bench, where he’s defending weaker players. But he can’t hang with the big boys at the 4. Don’t start him.

  4. I guess this is Radman’s biggest chance to shine. I hope Phil gives him consistent minutes because I believe he is the starter type player among our other 3 PF’s (turiaf and cook). This may be a blessing in disguise also for Kwame because he will need to score and rebound more. I hope he senses this opportunity to be a force on offense. I just hope these guys that are given the chance and playing time with lamar out will not try “too hard”. they should play within the offense and within themselves. I also hope and pray that we get lamar back in about 2 weeks!

  5. I apologize for putting Lamar in my Top 5 Small Forwards in the NBA list. I’m afraid I may have jinxed him. First AI is told to sit out after the list comes out and now Lamar…Sorry

  6. Well, on the bright-side, at least Lamar can get some rest, he’s playing way too many minutes. Hopefully someone, or a couple someones, can step up and show Phil that Lamar could get a little more rest during the games when he comes back

  7. 1. Hey, a guy can dream Smush will step up, can’t he? They guy is capable of a big offensive night.

  8. Smush certainly showed some moves last night. Including one really nice scoop. And STILL went under screens on a 3 point shooting team Phil especially pointed out they were gonna stay at home on.

  9. it’s a good thing.

    like with the early injuries that plagued us early on that everyone was worried about, i don’t think it matters that much. as good as we are i doubt we’re going to make a serious run at the title this season. it’s another building block year. the last one.

    it’s a good time to strengthen the little parts and see what this roster can do since it’s pretty logjammed up. let the supporting cast grow some more.

  10. Isn’t it kinda funny/ironic that the very injuries in the beginning of the season that were supposed to result in a “slow start” may end up being one of the reasons we are successful? Learning to play without our stars was supposed to be so detrimental, but thus far we have been fine. I hope that can continue.

    I guess if you look at the glass half full, if we have to get the injury bug out, let’s do it now, and get everyone together the second half.