Lamar Odom’s Consistency will Determine the Los Angeles Lakers’ Postseason Fate

San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston, New Orleans, and Atlanta represent the final road gauntlet the Los Angeles Lakers must conquer, and how the team performs on this trip will likely have postseason implications.

Complicating matters, the Lakers will be without the services of Andrew Bynum, who sprained his left achilles' heel against Sacramento earlier in the week. His return is not expected for another two weeks.

Of the five teams the Lakers will face, three of them are more than likely destined for the postseason, and the other two are teams who may not reach the playoffs, but are dangerous nonetheless.

An injury to a player like Bynum is the last thing Los Angeles wants to be burdened with right now, but it's a good thing the NBA's most versatile player happens to be a member of their team.

The play of Lamar Odom will be crucial in this upcoming five game road trip, and if he can find the right level of consistency, he is the one player who could decide if the Lakers once again hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy in June.

If there is one player who could be called an X-factor in the playoffs, then it's Odom, because no other team has a player who is capable of contributing in the various ways that he can.

His 6'10" frame gives him a height advantage when he slides to the perimeter, and his ball-handling ability makes him a nightmare match-up for any post player who is forced to defend him outside of the paint.

Odom also competes on the boards as his 9.6 rebound per game average will attest, and he is called on to be the Lakers' primary ballhandler in certain situations, and is capable of being an efficient distributor in transition.

He is also an exceptional defender, and his length and quickness often disrupts the rhythm of the opposition's offense. Odom is also capable of sliding out to the perimeter and defending smaller players.

There is little o...

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