Odom: Transition not difficult, just unexpected
Lamar Odom’s journey to Dallas has been well documented … as have his struggles to fit into the system.
But after two months in Dallas, the star power forward is starting to settle in, both on and off the court.
“Anytime, as athletes, we look forward to change in certain ways, even though we are creatures of habit,” Odom said in an exclusive interview with FOX Sports Southwest. “For any of us, when we go through change and it is unexpected, it takes us a little bit more time to get adjusted.”
Odom was originally a part of a package of players that would have been involved in a Los Angeles-Houston-New Orleans three-way trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers.
When the NBA nixed the deal, Odom saw the writing on the wall and wanted out of Los Angeles. The Lakers obliged and traded him to Dallas for a large trade exception.
The transition has been anything but smooth. Along with Odom came his wife, Khloe Kardashian, and their reality TV show.
His slow start had many wondering if the Mavericks had made the right decision in bringing Odom to town. But the organization has stuck behind him and recent performances are starting to show flashes of the Lamar Odom that was a big contributor to two World Championships in LA.
“It was a crazy summer for me,” Odom said. “I went through a lot and was almost expected not to play, but I’ve whipped myself back into shape and I’m glad I’m here.”
Odom has not only had to adjust to living in a new city and playing for a new team, but for the first time in seven years, he’s had to adjust to playing for a new coach.
Odom thrived in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, but going from such a strict set of plays to Rick Carlisle’s more open and fluid offensive schemes has not been an easy change for the former “Sixth Man of the Year.”
Although his minutes, points and rebounding numbers are all currently down, Odom seems to appreciate the way Carlisle has handled him in the start of his Mavericks career.
“It’s pretty intense,” Odom responded when asked about his relationship with Carlisle. “But I think it is because he pushed me as far as he can push me. I love to be coached like that.”
Carlisle has been pushing him, with the efforts now showing on the court. Odom’s field-goal percentage is rising and he is starting to look much more comfortable and confident in his role on this team.
Odom wasn’t surprised by his early season struggles.
“It’s going how I expected it to go,” Odom said. “I didn’t expect to be at my best. The last couple of years, I’ve always been organized and ready to play. When I wasn’t at the beginning of this year, I knew that was going to be tough.
“I’ve always been prepared, and when I was caught unprepared, I expected it. Basketball is a humbling game.”
The Mavericks are starting to gel. A team that had as much turnover on its roster as any this offseason is starting to hit its stride.
The Mavs started slow this season, but now find themselves sitting in the top four in the Western Conference, a place where they would like to be at the end of the season entering the playoffs.
And for Odom, he now finds himself in a place where he likes to be as well.
“I’m in a great place playing for a great team, a great owner, great coaches, great players and a great city,” Odom said.