Following such a crappy week of Lakers play, I was tempted to not even name a Player of the Week. It's hard to pick someone who stood out when the Lakers went 1-3, with the lone win coming against the pathetic Sacramento Kings. A team so bad, they have now lost 12 out of their last 13 games. This Lakers squad is supremely talented, deep and experienced. Every team experiences ups and downs throughout the course of an 82-game season, but I'm hard pressed to find any excuse why they should ever lose four (three this week, and one against Utah last Friday) games in a row. Never mind to the likes of Indiana, Memphis and Houston. No disrespect to those teams, but they aren't exactly Murderer's Row.
Keeping the Lakers' talent level in mind, I do feel like average performances from most of them should be enough to win most games. This award is given to the player I feel best fulfilled his role on this team. None of the "Renegades" or "Killer B's" second unit stood out. Ron Ron and El Presidente were non-factors at times. Pau is battling hamstring issues and heavy minutes and is playing like it. Kobe got his numbers, but forced it too much in a couple of games. Plus, if Kobe really played well enough to be Player of the Week, we're talking about about a 4-5 game win streak. I typically hold Kobe to a higher standard in his role (for good reason) and feel there is no way a great week from Kobe results in 1-3. 'Nuff said.
Last time, I had a tough decision to make. There were a few candidates to choose from. This week, the lone bright spot was Lamar Odom.
This is Lamar's second POW in three weeks. When he won it the first time his stats looked like this:
15.25 points, 10 rebounds, 5.25 assists and 1.25 blocks a game. He shot 26 of 48 for 54% from the field.
16.0 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 1.0 steal per game. He shot 27 of 46 for 58% from the field.
Except for assists, he had a slightly better week on offense this time. His defense was pretty solid too. Even though the Lakers have struggled on the defensive glass recently, I feel that has more to do with Pau's issues than Lamar's. Also, the Pacers, Grizzlies and Rockets are all top ten rebounding teams. On defense, Lamar kept Luis Scola, Zach Randolph and whichever stiff white guy Indiana played at power forward below their season averages. Now, his numbers are still around his season averages, but that just goes to show you exactly how great and consistent he's been playing all season. We all know Lamar for his inconsistency, but that monster has yet to rare its ugly head. Let's hope it doesn't, especially when Andrew Bynum returns. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like Phil has been playing Lamar with the bench a little more in the past few games. If so, I'd tend to think it's to prepare both LO and the Renegades for what will eventually become the regular rotation once Bynum does make his return.
Will Bynum's return change the way Lamar plays? It's obvious he has better chemistry with Pau, but he's also taken to being the main playmaker when he plays with the second unit. Don't let anyone fool you: starting feels great. Lamar is used to both roles now. Here's hoping consistent is a word we continue to associate with him all season.