Call to Step Up

. Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Inconsistency has been the biggest problem in the eight-year career of Lamar Odom. Before this season, his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers has been plagued with questions about his passion to play in the spotlight next to the NBA's best player in Kobe Bryant. He hasn't always flourished in being the second option behind Bryant. As a matter of fact, he tended to shy away from the role rather than embrace it.

Because of his reluctance to step into the role, he has been involved in numerous trade possibilities, which only caused him to shrink further away from the greatness that people were predicting him to reach as an NBA player when the Los Angeles Clippers drafted him out of Rhode Island in 1999.

Fast forward to February 1st when the Lakers swindled Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. To say that the Lakers acquired a great player for peanuts is an understatement. To say that they acquired two great players for peanuts is more accurate. Since that time, the player who has benefited the most has been Odom. Even though he has had his share of mental lapses coming down the stretch of the season, and most notably in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio, Odom is starting to undergo a transformation that can propel his so-far mediocre career at best into a potential perennial All-Star, and maybe a future Hall of Fame player.

Well, I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself. On the eve of the start of the NBA Finals, Odom must first learn to play in that spotlight, which he had tried to aviod for so long. This will not be a coming-out party for Bryant as it will for Odom. In Game 5 of the Conference Finals against the Spurs, Bryant delivered the knock-out punch to San Antonio, but Odom delivered the body blows with a sparkling 13 points and tremendous help-out defense on Tim Duncan.

If Odom can consistently put up double-double and play solid defense on Kevin Garnett every night, then the Lakers will win the championship.

For the Lakers to win, Lamar Odom win need to have an All-Star series.