Lakers Coach Luke Walton often talks with his old friend and teammate Lamar Odom. Sometimes the conversation turns to Odom’s future and the possibility of a return to basketball in a coaching capacity.
“I think Lamar would be great,” Walton said. “I think anyone that knows Lamar, when he’s right, he’s one of the most likeable people that they’ve been around. I think he has a great knowledge of the game and has a great way of communicating with people.”
Odom was recently asked by TMZ.com whether he would be interested in returning to the NBA as a coach and he said yes. When asked what team he’d like to coach with, Odom said, “With Luke, if I could.”
No such move is imminent as Odom works to regain stability in his own life. According to several reports, Odom recently left a treatment center for substance abuse after a 30-day stay. In October of 2015, he was hospitalized after being found unconscious in Nevada.
At the time, Walton was the Golden State Warriors’ interim head coach and visited Odom in the hospital. Walton has often spoken highly of Odom’s impact on him and in the Lakers locker room when they were teammates from 2004 to 2011.
Walton has compared Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson’s role coming off the bench to that of Odom, a former sixth man of the year. He has also compared guard Lou Williams’ magnetism to Odom’s.
Streaks a motivator
The Lakers entered Tuesday’s game against the Trail Blazers on a nine-game losing streak against Portland. It was a point the Lakers coaching staff made sure to note to the team. The only player who remained with the Lakers since their last win over the Trail Blazers was Nick Young.
“You could think it’s a cakewalk or you got their number,” Young said. “For them, they beat us nine straight times. They think they know how to win.”
This season the Lakers have halted long losing streaks twice. They ended a losing streak to the Clippers at 11 with a win on Christmas Day. And after nine straight losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers finally won on Nov. 22 with a buzzer-beater from Young. But they couldn’t end their streak Tuesday against the Trail Blazers, falling 108-87.
The simple to the spectacular
An adage of Warriors Coach Steve Kerr has carried over to Walton’s philosophy: The simple often leads to the spectacular. Lately, Walton has seen his team believe in that much more.
“We’re doing a better job of just making the simple play,” Walton said. “It’s what we preach all the time. Make the simple play. Hit the next open guy no matter who it is. If we keep playing like that, then we’re really at our best. … Open man, open man, open man, all of a sudden the ball’s moved four or five times and the spectacular wide-open shot at the end of it.”