Slumping Lamar Odom: 'I'm not myself'
DALLAS -- Lamar Odom, who has been mostly awful since arriving to the Dallas Mavericks in a salary-dump deal from the Los Angeles Lakers before the season, admitted that he's "not myself yet" after another miserable performance Wednesday night.
Odom's scoring average is half of what it was when he was a Laker, and he's shooting 32.9 percent from the floor through 19 games after going 2-for-14 in Dallas' 105-90 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
I can be upset at myself. I can fake body language and act like I'm not upset, but I expect more out of myself than you could ever expect out of me. I've been a good basketball player since I can remember. If you expect me to play well, then you can just imagine what I expect out of myself.” -- Lamar Odom
"Listen, we believe in Lamar," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Thursday. "This has been a struggle so far, but this guy can play. We're going to keep supporting him and keep believing in him and he's going to get better and better."
Last season with the Lakers, Odom averaged 14.4 points and shot a career-best 53 percent from the field and winning NBA Sixth Man of the Year honors.
"I just missed shots I normally make," Odom said after the game. He had five shots blocked in the first half and was benched midway through the third quarter. "It's kind of like an exclamation for the start of the season for myself. I'm not myself yet.
"All I can do is remain patient. An old friend of mine used to tell me, 'It's not what you're gonna do. It's what can you do. What can you do?' "
Odom put up 14 shots in 16 minutes as a fill-in starter at power forward with Dirk Nowitzki out of the lineup, mixing an assortment of drives denied by Darko Milicic with jump shots. His shot selection wasn't an issue.
"We want him to be aggressive," Carlisle said. "We want him to attack. He's got a unique skill of being able to put the ball on the floor and make plays. He just had some opportunities that didn't go down.
"This has been a challenge. We've been positive, upbeat about it, and will continue to be. When we address things, we address things honestly. We're working hard with him. ... My assumption is that he is [engaged with the team], that he does care. We don't make excuses around here, so I'm not going to get into all the stuff with the things that happened before he got here. That's in the past now and we've got to concentrate on now."
The 32-year-old Odom, who is making $8.9 million this season, is confident that he's "still got it." When asked what's missing from his game right now, he replied, "The ball going in."
It's much more than that. His rebounding and assist numbers are down significantly, and on a per-minute basis, not just because his playing time has decreased in Dallas. His body language is often questionable at best, although he's bothered by such a suggestion.
"You can't go off that," said Odom, who made a point to mention that the Mavs (11-8) have been winning on a regular basis recently. "I can be upset at myself. I can fake body language and act like I'm not upset, but I expect more out of myself than you could ever expect out of me.
"I've been a good basketball player since I can remember. If you expect me to play well, then you can just imagine what I expect out of myself."
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.