74 Reasons to Get Excited for the 74th NBA Season: Reason 21

Reason 21: What Lamar Odom brings to the Mavericks

After news broke that the Los Angeles Lakers’ attempt at trading for Chris Paul failed, the team wasted no time in moving one of the pieces in the proposed three-team deal just days earlier. According to a number of reports, the Lakers have sent forward Lamar Odom to the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks for a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and possibly other draft picks in the future. LA will also receive a trade exception from the Mavs in the deal.

But what does this all mean for Dallas? After losing center Tyson Chandler to the Knicks and forward Caron Butler to the Clippers, it looked as if a big void defensively and in the post was evident. Although the addition of Odom won’t fix all of the problems for Dallas on defense, he possesses the scoring ability to beat defenders in a variety of ways. As last season’s sixth man of the year, Odom averaged 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for LA last season. He set both career-highs in field goal (53%) and three-point shooting (38.3%) in 2011. The signing will not only provide the Mavs with another scorer, but Odom’s presence on the court will certainly relieve Dirk Nowitzki from possible double-teams on a nightly basis.

With Nowitzki occupying the power forward position, it’s possible the Mavs could run Odom at small forward, which would see two 6’10″+ players that can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court. With Brendan Haywood taking over for the departed Chandler, Jason Kidd running the point, and DeShawn Stevenson at shooting guard, the Mavericks will put out one of the best starting lineups on a nightly basis, to go along with a superb bench in Jason Terry, Shawn Marion (whether it’s him or Odom), J.J. Barea and Rudy Fernandez.

Odom won two NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. After switching from one Western Conference powerhouse to another, Odom will have his eyes set on title number three in 2011-12.

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