ODOM PRACTICES FOR FIRST TIME SINCE OCT. 7
Reserve forward Lamar Odom practiced for the first time in more than three weeks Monday as the Clippers continued working towards their season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Odom, who said he participated in more than half of the two-hour workout, has not been on the court in a full-contact capacity since he scored four points with three assists in the Clippers, 99-89, win over the Heat in Shanghai on Oct. 7.
“It was good to see him out there,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “He said he felt good and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and we’ll give him a little bit more.”
Del Negro has maintained since late last week that he, along with the team’s training staff, will evaluate Odom’s status each day when it comes to his availability for Wednesday’s opener. Taking part in Monday’s practice was a step in that process.
“You have to get out there and run up and down to get in game condition,” Del Negro said. “But [Odom has] been working hard on some other things other than being on the court.”
Over the course of the last 22 days Odom has ridden a stationary bike and done various other conditioning exercises, but has been held out of practice due to a bone bruise in his knee.
Point guard Chris Paul is anxious to take the court with Odom, whenever that may be. “We just can’t wait to get him back out on the court because he’s that dynamic of a player,” Paul said. “How many [6-foot-10] guys can be in a 3-point shooting drill with all of us just now and do ball-handling drills with me and Eric Bledsoe? Not too many of them.”
Odom’s ability to handle the ball, make plays off the dribble and play multiple positions was one of the biggest factors in their desire to acquire the 32-year-old former Sixth Man of the Year from the Dallas Mavericks during the offseason. Those traits were apparent at times on Monday, when Odom threw a behind-the-back pass out of a double-team in the post to a cutting Bledsoe for a dunk and consistently made good decisions as a passer in other 5-on-5 situations.
“He has so much versatility that’s one of his strengths,” Del Negro said when asked if he would try to utilize Odom at multiple positions. “But first we have to just get him out there and get him accustomed to the ‘4’ position and as he learns things offensively and defensively, I think his versatility will just show by the way he plays.”