DALLAS -- Perhaps the worst thing about Lamar Odom’s 2-of-14 shooting performance is that it can’t be considered surprising at this point.
After all, Odom has been mostly awful after arriving in a salary-dump deal from the Lakers, for whom he averaged 14.4 points and shot a career-best .530 while earning Sixth Man of the Year honors last season. His scoring averaged has been sliced in half so far as a Maverick, and he’s shooting a miserable .329 from the floor in 19 games this season after his woeful outing in Wednesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I just missed shots I normally make,” said Odom, who 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.”
Odom jacked up 14 shots in 16 minutes as a fill-in starter at power forward with Dirk Nowitzki resting, mixing an assortment of drives denied by Darko Milicic with jumpers. His shot selection wasn’t an issue.
“We want him to be aggressive,” coach Rick 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.”
Added Odom: “I don’t even think I forced one. They were all good shots.”
The 32-year-old Odom is confident that he’s “still got it.” When asked what’s missing from his game right now, he replied, “The ball going in.”
But it’s much more than that. His rebounding and assist numbers are down significantly -- 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 that suggestion.
“You can’t go off that,” said Odom, who made a point to mention that the Mavs 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.”
Everybody expected Odom to be much better for the Mavericks, but those external expectations have dropped drastically during his first month and a half in Dallas.