It's becoming readily apparent to anyone who has been following the Dallas Mavericks, more specifically Lamar Odom, that the once feared forward has been spending a little too much time acting and not enough time on the court. A disappointment for the Mavericks since they traded for him in the offseason, Odom has posted career lows, averaging 6.8 points and 4.3 rebounds a game, totals that have earned him the ire of both teammates and and fans.
Last seasons Sixth Man of the Year, Odom has gone through this season in a daze that came to a head last week in a horrific outing against his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, where he went off for a one point, one rebound and one assist night in only 24 minutes. He then was benched the following game, last Friday, against the San Antonio Sours, before hitting the court against the Houston Rockets Sunday, posting only two rebounds and no points in 13 minutes.
Odom has been so blatantly horrible that fans have had no choice but to boo his poor performance, an act that has the former All-Star shaking his head in disbelief and rushing to his own defense.
"Well, I've never been booed in my life, so if it's to the point that I'm playing a basketball game at home and I'm getting booed then I would say, no disrespect, but maybe I think people took things the wrong way," Odom said after Monday's practice at the American Airlines Center. "I admitted I was out of shape for different reasons when I came into camp. I admitted what I had been through; I was honest about how my summer went, how I almost left the game with everything I went through, and I think people just took it the wrong way, like I had a reason not to be here or if I didn't want to be here.
"I think people took that the wrong way and the next thing I know I'm trying to come out of a slump and I check into a game and I'm getting booed. I'm not really used to that."
Booing for an athlete is a common event, every star gets it at some point. Usually, they just shrug it off and go on with their game. Odom, however, admits to it being 'hurtful' and it's left him even more confused and bewildered that he has looked during games.
"It's part of the game, I understand, but usually it happens on the road," Odom said. "I've always had a lot of pride to play for the name on the back of my jersey. I've always been more prideful to play for the name that's on the front of my jersey, whether it be USA or whether it be Mavericks or the other team where I came from, I've always had a lot of pride, so it was a little confusing and a little hurtful, but it's the sports world so I understand. We're in a business that it's all about what have you done lately or last game. It's a part of it."
If the Mavericks are going to be any type of contender again come playoff time, then Lamar Odom is going to have to wake up and start getting it done on the court. The Mavs need far more than the 9-42 shooting over the last eight games that Odom has given them.
And, while he's at it, add a thicker skin to the wish list, because unless his play improves, those boo-birds will be in full force for the remainder of the season. A season, according to Odom, he can still salvage.
"I can't get it back in one play," Odom said. "It might take more than one game. I just have to go out there and just find my game."
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