A brief examination of two players:
Player A (per game): 18.4 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists
Player B (per game): 15.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists
Player A (per 36 minutes): 17.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists
Player B (per 36 minutes): 16.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists
Both of these players play for the Lakers and both are having what could only be considered very good seasons. Both should be in contention for an All-Star game berth when the game will be held in their home arena in late February. However, one player has been performing well all season (with only a handful of down games) and the other has struggled mightily of late putting together several sub-par performances over the past several weeks.
When looking at recent performance, we get the following numbers for the month of December:
Player A (36.6 mpg): 16.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists
Player B (36 mpg): 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Player A is Pau Gasol and Player B is Lamar Odom. I haven’t listed these stats to try and bring down Gasol or to try and focus on the fact that he’s been outperformed in any way by Odom (the stats essentially say that these guys have had comparable years to this point). I bring this up to focus on the fact that Odom is having a damn good season thus far. We’ve consistently said that Odom is an X factor for this team because his inconsistent nature meant that any excellent game from him normally meant a Laker win; that becuase those special games from Odom couldn’t be counted on, that the team benefitted greatly from those contests where he flashed his full potential.
Well, those games – at least so far this season – have not been an anomaly, but rather the norm. We all know that Odom is a special player and that his ability to play such a diverse game makes him one of the more unique talents in the league. This year, we’ve been seeing that player perform more consistently than ever before and for that I’m thankful. Now, if we could only get the other guy to start to play back at his level more…