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Tag:Thaddeus Young
Posted on: March 31, 2011 4:01 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 1:08 am
 

Lamar Odom was the total sixth man this season

Posted by Royce Young

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Like most of the others, the Sixth Man Award is pretty vague. Is it for a player that actually is the sixth guy in the rotation? Is it for a bench player, exclusively? Can a guy that started almost half his team's games win it?

According to the rules, yes. To be eligible, you just have to come off the bench more games than you started. Lamar Odom is just barely eligible (34 starts, 39 off the bench). But in a way, that's one of the best parts of his Sixth Man resume.

Odom has filled in everywhere this season for the Lakers. Power forward, center, small forward. The guy is maybe the most versatile player in the league. And it's not like he's done a good job. He's done a fantastic job.

At 14.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game on nearly 54 percent shooting (almost 60 percent true shooting, the highest of his career) and a PER of 19.88, Odom might be having his best, most efficient season of his career.

He's always been sort of the X-factor for the Lakers because of his unique skillset. And he's always been very good for them in whatever role he's used. But his main issue has been consistency. This season, he's been reliable almost every single night. When that happens not only is he one of the most dynamic players in basketball, but the Lakers are maybe the toughest team to beat.

Look at what he did in the World Championships in Turkey. Playing as one of the only big men on the United States roster, Odom was absolutely vital to the team bringing home gold for the first time in 16 years. His value to a team can't be understated. Things like points and rebounds per game don't often do him justice. Most felt Odom was an All-Star snub for his efforts this season, despite his apparently "low" numbers.

Not that his numbers are bad, though. He's second in scoring off the bench and first in rebounds. He's 10th in the entire league in field goal percentage and among power forwards (if that's what he even is), he's fifth in assists per game. However you cut it, Odom has had a great year.

There are other very nice candidates, no doubt. Jason Terry of course, Jamal Crawford, Thaddeus Young, Glen Davis and a few others. Sixth Man is sort of one of those hard to figure awards because you have to try and measure production versus impact off the bench versus value to the team versus other intangibles. What separates Odom, for me, is that he encapulates everything you want in a role player. Able to step in and start three positions. Able to play in crunch time. Able to take over a game on his own, if needed. And always productive. Checks across the board.

That's not always been the case for Odom as when his career wraps, I think we'll all look at his incredibly unique skills and ability and wonder if he underachieved. I don't necessarily see it that way -- especially these last few seasons with the Lakers -- because fitting in next to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol is hard. Really hard.

NBA Awards
For guys like Terry and Crawford, they basically know what they're called on to do. Terry is to play second fiddle to Dirk and score in bunches. Same for Crawford off the Atlanta bench. But Odom has to manage how he fits next to being productive. That's really, really challenging. And a reason stats don't always tell the story.

Odom really feels like the one player out of this group that if you subtracted him, his team would be cost a substantial number of wins. I really think he's that valuable to what the Lakers do. Just the options he gives Phil Jackson late in games to match up or create mismatches with.

Really, the best argument there is right now as to why not to vote for Odom is because he started so many games. As long as he's within the rules, it doesn't matter to me and again, I kind of like that. Like I said, being the type of play that's able to fill in wherever is needed is what makes a great sixth man.

Being a bench player is something Odom has said is sort of hard for him to grasp, because he knows how good he is. He was the No. 4 overall pick of the Clippers in 1997 and has the ability to start for basically everyone.

"At first, it was hard for me," Odom told reporters recently. "From a business standpoint, the year Phil wanted me to come off the bench was my free agent year. You know how that goes. When you're a free agent, you want to start and play as many minutes as you can. But it was the right decision.

"As a sportsman, you're used to starting," he continued. "I used to be one of the guys and go to guys on the team. I'd be lying if I told you it didn't. I'll be honest with you, a little bit. I've always started for every team I was on and was one of the first three options."

And that sort of mentality is exactly what makes a guy a great team player and a great sixth man. A lot of guys with the kind of profile Odom has and talent aren't willing to sacrifice minutes and a starting spot. Odom is, while still playing at one of the highest levels he ever has.



Posted on: November 1, 2010 2:03 pm
 

Sixers have no winners. Literally.

76ers are without a single player with professional winning record.
Posted by Matt Moore


The Sixers aren't really all that young. I mean, they're not old. But Andre Iguodala, their "star" is 26, entering his prime. Elton Brand is a dinosaur that never got to really rome the Earth, and they have five players 29 or older on roster. They have some young pieces in huge roles, like 22-year-old Thaddeus Young and 20-year-old Jrue Holiday, but in general, they're a pretty balanced squad, age-wise.

Which is what makes a fact Doug Collins relayed to the Philadelphia Inquirer 's Kate Fagan all the more stunning. From the PI :

In that vein, Sixers coach Doug Collins offered this statistic after the game (which he said he shared with his team as well): No player on the Sixers roster has a winning record as a professional. That actually struck me as quite amazing. Obviously there are the mainstays that you know don't have a winning record because they've been with the Sixers their entire careers (Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, etc.), but to think that even the added veterans and transplants (Andres Nocioni, Tony Battie) don't have winning records is amazing. It's a statistic that is common sense once you think about it, but still quite representative of the uphill battle this team faces.

Not one player. Not Andres Nocioni. Not former Western Conference Semifinalist Elton Brand, not Jason Kapono. Not "star" Andre Iguodala (I've overused the sarcastic quotes on the word star haven't I?). Nobody. That's impressive, in an opposite kind of way.

Philadelphia is currently winless, and third worst in efficiency in the league .After what many considered a promising preseason, the team has gotten blasted. Liberty Ballers, a Sixers blog, isn't freaking out three games in, being happy that the team is competing a full 48. That and a quarter will get the team exactly nothing, because you can't really buy anything for a quarter anymore. It may be time to start looking for more than effort. Like a trade. But theyr'e right. It's still early.

Unfortunately, history does not bode well for them either.
Posted on: September 26, 2010 4:30 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2010 4:30 pm
 

Preseason Primer: 76ers

Posted by Royce Young

This 76ers club is a young one that doesn't have any major inclination to win now. They know it's a work in progress and based upon the development of a young core, this group has future potential. But it could be a long year this season. Doug Collins is an excellent coach for young players and almost always gets a win improvement out of a new team in his first year. But he has a challenge ahead of him in Philly this season.

Training camp site: Philadelphia, PA

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Evan Turner (draft), Spencer Hawes (trade), Andres Nocioni (trade)

Key subtractions: Samuel Dalembert (trade), Willie Green (trade), Rodney Carney (free agent)

Likely starting lineup:   Jrue Holiday, PG; Evan Turner, SG; Andre Iguodala, SF; Elton Brand, PF; Marreese Speights, C

Player to watch: Andre Iguodala. After a strong performance in Turkey where Iguodala was called upon to simply play a role, many are riding high on Iggy heading into this season. But it's about mindset. Playing as a third or even fourth option and primarily as a hard-nosed defender, Iguodala looked like one of the premier perimeter defenders in the league. But when he returns to Philly as the leading man on a mediocre to bad club, how does he respond? Will he stay committed to fitting in or will he try and assume the job of dominating the ball for the Sixers?

Chemistry quiz: The Sixers took Evan Turner second overall and now are tasked with figuring out how he fits in. In college, Turner handled the ball, created, distributed and scored. But how does he play with the Sixers? Is he going to stay off the ball and straight play the 2? Will he have some ball-handling duties? With the improvement of Jrue Holiday as a point guard, figuring out how Turner fits will be a question.

Plus, Philly is bringing in a brand new coach in Doug Collins. Typically, Collins improves teams, especially young ones. But it'll be an uphill battle figuring out the roles and spots of some of these guys.

Camp battles: Any question as to who is starting at shooting guard was solved with last week's trade of Willie Green. The 76ers are going young and will start Turner there. Lou Williams could potentially push for Holiday's starting point guard spot, though again, it appears the Sixers are going all-in with the youth movement. At center, Marreese Speights will likely start over offseason acquisition Spencer Hawes, but it'll be a competition throughout camp.

Biggest strength: Athleticism. The Sixers can move with the best of them. Holiday is a physically gifted point man, Turner is a long, lengthy shooting guard, Iguodala is ridiculous and a bench player like Thaddeus Young is long and athletic. The 76ers have a bunch of raw talent with a bundle of ability. In one regard, it's their biggest strength, but in another, it's a weakness.

Glaring weakness: Inexperience and youth. These Sixers don't know how to win. They brought in Elton Brand last summer to try and be a mainstay on the inside and it hasn't worked out well thus far. So right now, the team is left with players trying to fulfill duties likely above them. For example, Iguodala. As showed in Turkey, Iggy is at his best when he's not relied upon to put up 20 points a night. But on this team, he has to be the man. So until someone else steps up whether that's Turner, Young, Holiday or someone else, this team will have issues.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com