The Lakers might be the deepest squad in the league, and as such, minutes are hard to come by for some of their players. But that hasn't been necessarily true for the team's new sixth man, Lamar Odom. Off the bench, he's averaging the second most minutes on the team (behind Pau Gasol), and seems to be on the floor when the game matters most.
While Odom's acceptance of his new role was something that didn't come right way, he's finding that he's getting to play a starters' share of minutes, and that he's helping his team win games. The adjustment and the way he's had to approach things however, have been different for him, even when he's tried for it not to be.
"I think mentally it was different. It humbles you," Odom said. "But being humbled has been a part of my life for a long time. . . . But for these guys in this locker room, this great organization, a great coaching staff, if that's what it has to be, that's what it has to be."
The biggest change for Odom is that he has to gauge how things are going when he enters the game, which was something that he could just feel for himself as a starter.
"Now I'm coming off the bench and having to kind of watch the pace of the game, figure out who's hot and who's not, how things are going. I try not to say that [about the approach being different coming off the bench], but sometimes you can't help it," Odom said. "I don't know why. I can't put my hand on that. But it's not the same."
What has been the same is Odom's contribution to the team's victories. He played 10 minutes of the fourth quarter in the Lakers' most recent win over the Clippers, and had his best night statistically this season, chipping in 15 points and nine rebounds. As long as the minutes are there and the Lakers keep winning, you can expect Odom to remain happy in his new role. Even if it took a little getting used to.