Q&A: Playing Odom off the bench could help Lakers 2008-10-06

What do you think about the Lakers' plan to start Trevor Ariza and use Lamar Odom off the bench? — Eugene Dawal, Philippines

I think it's a terrific idea for several reasons: Playing alongside Kobe and Pau Gasol, Odom can't establish any kind of offensive rhythm simply because he doesn't get enough touches. This situation tends to emphasize his natural inclination to lose concentration and play with inconsistency. Being the featured player on the second unit, however, should supply the touches he needs to maintain his focus. Also, by matching up against an opponent's second-line players, Odom should be a much more effective point-maker. Even so, it's a good bet that Odom will still get plenty of daylight at the end of close ball games.

2008-09 NBA previews

  • Fans who have not played organized ball have little idea of how important things like discipline and execution are — and have little idea how to recognize the presence or absence of these qualities.

  • Blame the media for highlighting spectacular plays as being the end-all-and-be-all of the game — and for thus skewing the vision and appreciation of so many acquiescent fans.

  • Also, in most fields of public endeavor — economics, education, foreign and domestic relations, and especially politics and sports — doesn't the average citizen truly believe that he's more of an expert than the "so-called" experts?

  • But the most significant impediment to a deeper, more evenhanded understanding of sports is that most fans are totally invested in their loyalty to certain teams and certain players to the point where their own self-image and self-worth depend on the success and "goodness" of these players and teams. That's why so many fans cannot tolerate any comments that puncture their We're/I'm-Number-One fantasies, which is why so many fans are so eager to pounce on every mistake and erroneous prediction.

    In the end, however, hoop-o-philes of every persuasion deserve immense credit for being passionate about the greatest sport and the greatest athletes in the world.

    Author: Fox Sports
    Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: October 6, 2008