January 29, 2011
Here are statistics to support that statement: He's averaging 16.5 points per 36 minutes, a full four-point increase over last season and his highest mark in a decade. He's made a career-best 56.8 percent of his field-goal attempts, including 37.2 percent of his 3-point tries, which matches his 2005-06 long-range peak. He's posted a Player Efficiency Rating higher than 20 for the first time in his 12-year NBA career.
Here is a nonsense portmanteau that synergizes the two things that came before it: Mathketball.
Odom's wonderful play probably won't be recognized with an All-Star berth, which is understandable due to the insane collection of frontline talent out West. But it's also a shame, because he's exactly the type of player that can make freewheeling contests like the All-Star game more fun.
When he's got it going, as Kelly wrote last week, Odom "might be the most aesthetically pleasing basketball player" in the league to watch. And like a liquid that takes the shape of whatever container you pour it in, he can slide seamlessly into just about any role the game would call for — including, as he showed during Friday night's surprising 100-95 home loss to the Sacramento Kings, a crowd-pleasing playmaker capable of delivering pinpoint, whirling dervish, no-look feeds over his shoulder to streaking teammates like Pau Gasol(notes).
Getting to see Odom display his remarkable fluidity and fantastic collection of talents by playing off of and setting up the likes of Kevin Durant(notes) or Blake Griffin(notes) would be a hoop purist's dream. More likely, though, Lamar will once again wind up just outside the spotlight, his prodigious talents falling just shy of bursting into full view.
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to peruse Lamar twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom courtesy of thehoopscene.
Headline inspiration courtesy of The Weepies.