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Lamar Odom Is The Right Choice For The Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10:  Lamar Odum #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles after a timeout against the Milwaukee Bucks during the game at Staples Center on January 10, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Chad RidgewayCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2010

Lamar Odom has become so synonymous with the following phrases it's become cliché to use them; inconsistent, enigmatic, sugar-addicted.

The truth about Lamar Odom is that he's the perfect fit for the Lakers, and was always the right choice for them.

Lamar was at the center of trade rumors for years, never expected to be a long-term solution for anything the Lakers were doing. Fans clamored to flip him for a more "elite" player such as Shawn Marion, Jermaine O'Neal, and Kevin Garnett, peaking during the summer of '07 when the mere mention of KG in a question to Mitch Kupchak brought a room full of season ticket holders to a rousing applause.

And I would take Odom over them all. While those players have broken down into a faint glimmer of what they once were, Lamar has never been better. He's still bursting with intangible talent, yet completely in control of his unique role as the Lakers game changer off the bench.

Even the man Odom was originally traded for (Shaquille O'Neal) has fallen off so considerably that that blasphemous trade that rocked Los Angeles has now become lopsided in the Lakers favor.

"The only player to come into this league, who had the ability to play like Earvin (Magic) Johnson," is the way Pat Riley described Odom. He's the only big man alive who can grab a rebound on one end of the court and dribble it all the way to the other side for a layup. He'll never be a legendary superstar like Magic. Even the pressure to be an All-Star is off. Both he and the fans know that will never happen. We're not waiting for it anymore.

What we do know is that Odom's versatile skill-set is perfect for these Lakers. It's that skill-set that made Pau Gasol's integration (from trade) and Andrew Bynum's absences (from injury) so seamless. He's the motor the drives the second unit, and Phil Jackson's choice to finish games, because the Lakers are most effective when he's on the court.

The Lakers are also most effective with him off the court. He's their glue guy. The center of their pregame ritual. Ron Artest's best friend. The most beloved Laker. Lamar Odom has arrived. He's a winner. A champion. The right choice for the Lakers, and always has been.

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