Snapshot: A look back at Lamar Odom, the electric playmaker

Lamar Odom was impossible to put into a box as a basketball player, and that’s what made him fun to watch.

He could push the ball up the floor and pass well both in transition and in the halfcourt. Using his 6-foot-10 frame, he could blow past people with his crafty handles. In a sense, Odom was ahead of his time when he stepped on the floor.

Though considered a forward, his skill set was more than the traditional facets of the position.

Odom was simply an electric playmaker who glided along the court, with his graceful step making him hard to stop, especially in transition.

Odom had his best years with the Los Angeles Lakers, the team he played with for seven seasons. While with the Lakers, Odom averaged 13.7 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He had a 14-year career, and he boasts career averages of 13.3 points per game, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Though he wasn’t an All-Star, Odom won the Sixth Man of the Year award for the 2010-11 season, his last with the Lakers. He scored 14.4 points per game and shot a career-high 38.2% from the 3-point line that season.

He was instrumental for the Lakers’ championships in 2009 and 2010, being a complementary scoring option behind the late Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Bryant is one of the best isolation scorers ever. But what made the Lakers a tough team during their championship runs was their effectiveness in all phases of offense: isolation, halfcourt and the fast break.

Odom was the captain of the break, and his stride and vision helped him thrive in fast-paced moments.

During the 2009 NBA Finals, Odom averaged 13.4 points per game and 7.8 rebounds. After the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in 2009, they defeated the Boston Celtics in 2010. Odom continued his solid play, averaging 7.6 points a game and 6.6 rebounds during that year’s Finals.

Odom played one more season with the Lakers after the 2010 title, and then he played his last two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers; Odom spent the first four seasons of his career with the Clippers.

Odom was essentially a point forward, with his predecessors being legends like Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen.

But even at 6-foot-9, Johnson was a point guard in the purest sense. Pippen was closer to Odom, but he still fit the mold of a traditional small forward more because he was a better scorer. Odom never averaged 20 or more points a game; Pippen has four such seasons in his career.

Now, big and long playmakers are the norm in the NBA. Ben Simmons, a lefty like Odom, is arguably the closest thing to the former Lakers player, with both players thriving the most in transition.

Regardless, Odom should be appreciated for his own unique skill set. He’s almost impossible to compare, and when he was on the floor, he always showed something different compared to his peers.

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