Lamar Odom is now the subject of discussion in media from sources willing to go on the record about his abysmal performance in a Dallas Mavs uniform.
Owner Mark Cuban took time to defend Odom as a guy who is trying.
Speaking to local Dallas sports talk radio, Cuban said:
“People haven’t got to know him yet. He’s a great guy. There’s just a lot of pressure on him right now, and he hasn’t played his best. But there’s nobody who wants to play well as much as Lamar.”
The Dallas Morning News reported that coach Rick Carlisle admitted he and Cuban discussed sitting Lamar to give him some time to regroup, but no plans are on the table.
In Odom’s last outing on the court he went 2 for 14 from the floor and his tailspin threatens to go out of control.
The team has won 7 of their last 10 games however and are at 11-8 on the season, despite the absence of star Dirk Nowitzki. It is the same record as Lamar’s previous team, the L.A. Lakers.
It’s clear the Mavs have struggled to find their form after losing Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson in the middle, Caron Butler up front and J.J. Barea on the ball, but their performance of late shows they can find ways to win without them in the lineup.
The Lakers pulled out of a three-game losing streak with a gritty performance in a 96-91 win over the Clippers on Wednesday night.
Their lineup got a boost from a 38-minute time capsule perforamce from Metta World Peace, a 14 point contirbution off the bench from an unlikely rookie guard, Andrew Goudelock and a Black Swan performance from Pau Gasol.
In addition to pouring in 23 points, the Spaniard got into a bit of a kerfuffle with Chris Paul, the man who was supposed to punch Gasol’s ticket out of town in the pre-sesason.
With center Andrew Bynum adding 19 points and four blocks to the victory, the Lakers looked like they didn’t miss Lamar Odom.
But, Gasol’s breakout game of the season can’t be a one time thing for the Lakers to move forward in the new Mike Brown offense, that features four outside the paint and only one player in the low post.
Lamar would have fit the offensive sets perfectly because of his ability to shoot from long range, handle the ball like a guard, attack the basket with either hand and man the paint for rebounds and steals.
He hasn’t found that comfort zone in Dallas yet and the Lakers don’t have any solid replacement for his skills.
Once he comes around however, Dallas will reap the benefits. L.A. cannot replace Odom’s skills with big men Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts or even with a resurgent Matt Barnes.
The Lakers play Saturday night in Milwaukee and the Mavericks face the Jazz at home tonight.