Last year Tyson Chandler gave Dirk Nowitzki’s team a backbone that nobody before him could provide. A top level defender by the rules and a player willing to go beyond those rules to intimidate the opponent and get the win. It’s that kind of teammate that allows the star to work his magic without having to be preoccupied with being bullied. Do not fret Mavericks fans, Chandler is gone but Lamar Joseph Odom is more than willing to fill that role.
I’m not just talking about the grittiness he displayed in the skirmish Tuesday night in the preseason or his cheap shot on Dirk in game four. I’m talking about an established pattern of being the go to guy when it comes to exposing the soft under belly of some of the biggest athletes in sports.
He’s not a thug. But growing up in Jamaica Queens, New York, Odom saw how intimidation can help you take what you want. Then while playing at a size much bigger than most his peers and even older kids in parks and teaming up with Ron Artest on his AAU team, he learned how to apply that on the basketball court. A scared opponent is a defeated opponent.
It sounds funny but that concept still applies at the professional level, and Lamar is a master of it. He doesn’t really want to fight he just wants to get the other team thinking he does. The goal is to get your man thinking about avoiding the fight or getting even. At that point it’s game over. It’s like putting a poker player on tilt, the result is behavior that’s either too aggressive or too passive to consistently get desirable results.
On the surface it looks like barbaric and sophomoric thuggery, and it is. But it also serves a calculated and valuable purpose. Younger teams like the Thunder are put on their heels, and veteran teams with big bodies bruisers like the Grizzlies are informed that they will have to fight for everything they get.
Some of his best work was done back in 08. I got a clip for you here so click it and the other links are pretty awesome too. Odom walks directly into the Portland huddle , not only confronting a 2nd year budding star in Lamarcus Aldridge, but also a certifiable international badass in Ime Udoka (if you do nothing else read that story) and Zach Randolph who once sucker punched certifiable NBA psycho Ruben Patterson in the face at practice, and was present at his house party over the summer where a drug dealer was beaten, and once reportedly said I’m not a trailblazer I’m a gangster. The point is Lamar ain’t scared.
Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs played scared for years.
That changed last year and nothing changes this year with Odom in the fold.
Oh and btw he’s also a very good basketball player.
If you see me beer me.