There’s no better way to endear yourself to Lakers fans as a player than to speak kindly about former beloved players. Jarred Vanderbilt, fresh off his newly signed extension, pulled out that tried and true method in a recent interview.
Appearing on the Run Your Race podcast, Vanderbilt was asked who he modeled his game after and revealed one former Lakers role player as one of his basketballing inspirations.
“For me, it was really Penny (Hardaway). I grew up watching a lot of Penny. And really, like, Lamar Odom. Those were two guys I was kind of modeling my game after at the time. Just big guards that can pretty much do everything with the rock: dribble, pass, shoot, whatever. Those are two guys I was kind of modeling my game after at the time.”
Realistically, there are few people who make more sense for Vanderbilt to model his game after than Odom. Both have/had skill sets that were so unique to their size that it made them hard to compare to anyone else.
Odom himself responded to the clip of Vanderbilt on Twitter and showed appreciation.
Ironically, few players have his generation would have fit better into the modern era of the NBA than Odom, which makes him the perfect type of player for Vando to model his game after. Odom’s size, ball-handling and play-making ability all would have made him a phenomenal player in the era of positionless basketball.
To be fair, he was a pretty damn good player in his own era, too. But just imagine someone like him alongside Anthony Davis or running lineups as a small ball center.
Hopefully, Vando is able to replicate even a modicum of the success Odom had. It’s a tall task but he’s as unique a forward as the Lakers have had since perhaps Odom himself. If he and the team can figure out the best way to find success on the court, he could become the latest beloved Lakers role player.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.