This is a lot tougher than I thought.
When I decided to start writing this series, I figured choosing a Player of the Week would be an easy enough task. Just look at this team. Talented. Deep. Experienced. Yet, still hungry. Someone would always be deserving, right? Right. Except, that's the problem. Don't get me wrong now, it's one of those good problems. Like Justin Timberlake choosing which hot actress to date. Or Derek Jeter. Either way, it's taking up too much of my daily thoughts. Kobe. Pau. Lamar. Shannon. Matt Barnes. For the second straight week, I'm having quite a tough time deciding whom should win Player of the Week.
In the end though, I chose Lamar Odom. Sue me.
Kobe was masterful. Pau remains mind-bogglingly and consistently great. Shannon Brown continues to shoot the lights out. Matt Barnes was solid, and perfect on Friday night. Hell, even Fish hasn't given us anything to complain about. I couldn't go wrong picking any of them. Except Kobe wasn't too great last night, Pau let Darko (?!) look like an All-Star, and Shannon and Matt had fairly quiet games against Detroit.
The reason I picked Lamar though is because of the way he bounced back from his pathetic Denver performance last week. Throughout four games this week, he averaged 15.25 points, 10 rebounds, 5.25 assists and 1.25 blocks a game. He shot 26 of 48 for 54% from the field. He even used his right hand a bunch! The best part, though? He showed some pride and limited Kevin Love to ZERO points and 7 rebounds last night. The same Kevin Love who hung a 23-point-and-24-rebound game on Lamar and the Lakers last week, then followed it up with 31 points and 31 rebounds in the Wolves' next game. Love can play and rebounds with the best of them - he leads the NBA in rebounding - but Lamar wasn't having it. Just like he shook off the Denver game, he made it a point to limit Kevin Love and the Lakers won handily.
This seems to be the best basketball Lamar has played in his life. It could be from the confidence of being a two-time defending champion, his experience winning gold at the World Championships this past summer, being happy in his personal life, or all the above. His averaged stats have looked like this before, but there's an easiness to his play right now that has made him more efficient in getting them. An assertiveness to his game that has allowed him to shoot 57% for the year and 52% from three point range. Could it be that Lamar is finally fully comfortable in his role? Will this comfort level change when Andrew Bynum comes back and LO returns to the bench? Let's hope not, because if this Lamar returns to the bench and continues to play like this, the Lakers will make the regular season a moot point.
Lamar's highlight of the week: