“This is still ugly for me,” Odom said after his 15-point, five-rebound, two-steal night in the Mavs’ 98-89 win Wednesday over the Suns. “I’m used to really playing at a high level. I could really help this team. There are so many plays, so many plays, basketball plays. I’ll just keep working and working and working until I get to that level that I’m used to playing at.”
Odom’s awful start with the Mavericks hasn’t lowered the standards for the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. He certainly isn’t going to be satisfied by one decent performance, but it represents progress for Odom.
This is a dude who entered the night with a sub-.200 shooting percentage, so the fact that he went 6-of-12 from the floor was a giant leap for the ex-Laker.
But much, much more is expected of the multiskilled 6-foot-10 forward. Start with assists, of which Odom had none against the Suns, although he made an effort to give the E! television types trailing him and the Kardashian crew a highlight with a silly, unnecessary behind-the-back pass to gravity-challenged Brian Cardinal on a fast break.
Coach Rick Carlisle had a list of things he’s looking for Odom to improve, beginning with knowing coverages, being alert, communicating and continuing to work on his conditioning, noting that Odom was gassed after playing 23 minutes.
“More and more, he’s doing better things and getting used to playing with our guys,” Carlisle said. “He’s making gradual strides at both ends. Look, we’re not there yet. This is going to take a lot more time, but I like the progress.”
It’s progress, but nobody will be pleased until Odom is an impact player every night.