Odom is accepting of leadership role

December 25, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_imgEL SEGUNDO – Phil Jackson asked first for the shooters who already had missed two free throws to step back to the foul line, so he could stop watching sooner and send the Lakers back out on another punishing set of cross-court sprints. He looked in the direction of special assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar standing on the sidelines and said disgustedly: “The big guy was doing 17s (sprints) at 38, 39 years old. That’s how old Corie (Blount) is now.” Then Jackson kindly asked the Lakers a few minutes later to get off his court and return for practice tomorrow, although the coach’s exact words were neither polite nor printable. This Lakers team might have mere playoff aspirations as opposed to championship expectations, but Jackson showed Saturday he is still as capable of playing mind games as before. And he might have found a leader opposite Kobe Bryant as a result. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week While Jackson stormed off the floor and Bryant kicked a water bottle on his way to the locker room, Lamar Odom rallied the rest of his teammates and led them back to the foul line, where they kept on shooting. Jackson came into the season saying Bryant will be one of the Lakers’ two captains. He would not commit to Odom being the other Saturday, but acknowledged the role fits, especially with Odom moving to the backcourt and directing the Lakers’ offense. “He’s a supportive guy and I think that it’s kind of natural to say he’s going to fall into that role,” Jackson said. “But I want that to be something that’s not by my doing but by his doing, by the team following him. “Kobe, by virtue of his status here, his veteran ability, his All-Star capabilities, has a position that a lot of times is leadership by example. Whereas we need someone who can lead by encouragement, by support, a person that can rally the group.” Odom did that Saturday, at the end of a practice that ran more than an hour long. It was an encouraging sign from the player who never looked totally comfortable during his first season with the Lakers following the Shaquille O’Neal trade. Even though he is only 25, Odom is a relative veteran on this year’s team, entering his seventh NBA season. center_img “It’s important on this team because we’re young,” Odom said. “We don’t have six or seven guys that’ve been to the Western Conference finals on this team. I guess it’s just my turn to be a leader.’ What’s in a name? The Lakers have benefited from the play of guard Smush Parker, who hit 8 of 14 shots, averaged 10 points and played solid defense in the first two exhibitions. So what was with Jackson calling Parker by his given name, William, on Saturday? “He’s a different person on different days, depending upon how he does,” Jackson said. “Sometimes he’s Smush, Smushie, Smash, Splash. We’ve got a variety of names for him. “We think Smush might be a little bit too soft. But his mom gave him the name, so we have to concede that when moms give you a name like that, you’ve kind of got to hang on to it.” Also: Blount, whose actual age is 36, has practiced sparingly and said he is bothered by a bruise on the top of his left foot. Jackson said he is proceeding cautiously with the veteran big man, who underwent ankle and knee surgeries a year ago. Ross Siler, (818) 713-3610 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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