Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Mavericks [Print without images]

Thursday, January 5, 2012
Pregame buzz: Pop likes Lamar Odom addition

By Jeff Caplan

SAN ANTONIO -- It certainly appeared as though the San Antonio Spurs were prepared to use the amnesty provision on Richard Jefferson to make room to sign former Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler.

And then Butler chose to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

And then the Chris Paul-to-Los Angeles-Lakers trade collapsed.

And then Lamar Odom landed in the lap of the Mavs.

Double-whammy for the Spurs.

"Time will tell what it does for their team," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Thursday prior to the renewal of the I-35 series. "One would guess it will be very positive for them because he’s a heck of a player, great experience, great skills. Anybody would be thrilled to add that to their basketball team. I would assume that as the year goes along, it will be very, very positive for them."

Recently, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has used Odom as a point forward along with reserves Jason Terry, Vince Carter, Ian Mahinmi and starter Dirk Nowitzki.

Asked about that particular lineup that features Odom at 6-foot-10, Mahinmi at 6-foot-11 and Dirk at 7-foot, and how one might look to defend it, Pop said in classic Pop style: "The best you can."

Of course, everyone knows that Odom is off to a slow start and that he's under Carlisle's watchful eye with a special conditioning program. Odom is coming off his best all-around game with 15 points and five rebounds Wednesday, while playing quite a big of point forward. Carlisle said he is seeking game-by-game improvement.

"Just to continue to be more and more aware of what we’re doing defensively, to get a feel for his teammates on offense, how to play with certain lineups, with different guys, so on and so forth," Carlisle said. "And just to keep working to get his conditioning and get his legs under him and get his rhythm. That’s really the main thing offensively."

Other notes from Thursday's pregame availability:

* A win tonight and Dallas can move to .500 on the season after eight games following the 0-3 start.

"It speaks to some improvement for sure and it speaks to how bad we were to start off with," Carlisle said. "We’ve got to keep looking forward, we’ve got to keep evaluating the club in an honest, but constructive way and got to get everybody ready to play."

* Forward Shawn Marion has been taking more baseline jumpers than he did last season. He said that it's not necessarily by design, but that he's had the open shot. He also said, "I've got to make some of them." Marion and his quirky shot have been off-target. He's shooting just 44.9 percent, well below the 52.0 percent he shot last season when the majority of his attempts came in the paint.

* Jason Kidd is 2-of-12 from the floor in his three games. But the crazy stat is that the next 2-point bucket Kidd makes will be the first of the season. The 18-year veteran is 12-of-32 from beyond the arc (37.5 percent) and 0-of-5 inside the arc.