After about a month of much ado about nothing, Lamar Odom is finally off the market, signing a multi-year deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Had Odom landed in Miami, which many expected, his value would have received a boost. After all, he would have been second fiddle to Dwyane Wade instead of being the fourth or fifth option on a stacked Lakers team.
Based on how Odom performed during the 2008-09 regular season, it’s hard to get excited about his prospects. However, his career as a whole has been inconsistent and a much more productive 2009-10 campaign is not out of the question.
The biggest issue for Odom is playing time. He still produced the same per minute numbers as the previous seasons, but he played a career-low 29.7 minutes per game as Phil Jackson struggled to find a suitable rotation.
Perhaps Odom’s performance in the playoffs helped Jackson realize he should be playing 31-plus minutes per game.
Still, it can hardly be counted on for Odom to produce like he did in the postseason, especially with the arrival of Ron Artest and possible resurgence of Andrew Bynum. It’s impossible to tell how Artest’s dubious offensive judgment will impact Odom and the rest of the team or if Kobe Bryant’s escalating odometer will shift more of the offensive burden to the supporting cast.
Much like last season, Odom will be something of a gamble if taken too early. He’s got all of the ability to be a five-category contributor, but his inconsistent role shows he can’t be counted on to live up to the potential.