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LAKERS / Q & A

Is Lamar Odom first among sixth men?

He has the skills, but the production just doesn't measure up.

February 27, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

Readers' questions for our Lakers beat reporter Mike Bresnahan. Questions will be answered every Friday at latimes.com/sports

Question: Lamar Odom may not have the numbers of some of the other candidates for Sixth Man of the Year, but he has a wider variety of skills than those guys and is always in the game during crunch time.

So why am I not hearing his name in Sixth Man of the Year talk?

-- Steve Sanders, Venice

Answer: Wait a sec. Steve Sanders. From "90210" fame? Is this the Steve Sanders? Awesome.

I'm suffering from a bad case of "colleague celebrity envy."

Broderick Turner, my partner in crime on the Lakers beat at The Times, exchanges e-mails with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, hangs out with Sharon Stone in random airports and gabs with Denzel Washington at Lakers games.

Me? I know FSN West's Bill Macdonald.

I hate to start off on the wrong foot with Steve, but Odom has no chance at a postseason award.

He'll have a nice game or two but then post a five-point clunker as he did earlier this week against Memphis. Or go through stretches where he'll score 35 points . . . over five games (see Odom, game log, mid-January).

He's a nice luxury to have coming off the bench, for sure, but he's too inconsistent to win the award, which will go to Dallas guard Jason Terry or Atlanta guard Jamal Crawford.

See ya at Katsuya after Friday's game, Steve?

Q: Even though the trading deadline has passed, is there a chance the Lakers could pick up a quick point guard to stop the Rondos/Nelsons/Williamses/Nashes/Lawsons/Parkers/Williamses, etc., that many of the playoff teams have?

Anyone in the D-League or Europe they could pick up for the rest of the season? This seems to be a glaring weak spot (lack of a quick PG) in their lineup.

--Kevin Guttman, Colorado Springs, Colo.

A: Wow, whoever Williams is, he's so good he gets mentioned twice. Or maybe you're referring to Mo Williams and Deron Williams, although Deron Williams is more of a thick, bruising point guard than a speedy Chris Paul-type.

At any rate, there is nobody in the Development League or Europe who can stop Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash or Williams (Deron not Mo). Hate to dash your hopes.

The Lakers are who they are, meaning Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar will find themselves on the spot in the playoffs when a stop against a quick point guard is needed.

And to beat everybody to the punch, Phil Jackson won't ever bench Fisher to start a game. Never.

What he might do is shorten Fisher's minutes if he doesn't like what he sees on the court, which he has done at various times during the season.

Such a move adds pressure on either Farmar or Shannon Brown, but the Lakers are hoping one of those two becomes their point guard of the future (more likely Brown). In other words, the next few months are very important for reasons beyond trying to win a 16th NBA championship.

Q: I know that you are kind of down about the way your weekly picks have been going. Don't despair. I have a solution that will make us both rich and free of such trivial little things like final basketball scores. We will do a movie script!

The plot of our movie will feature a team fighting its way to the "National Biscuit Association World Food Fight Championship."

Here is my idea for the groundwork: The team will be called "The Lost Angels Bakers." The main cast will be owner Berry Crust, coach Philly Jackcheese and a starting five of Cold Tea Tyrant, Pausta Gastronomist, Rhubarb Artichoke, Abrew Bydrew, and Daring Fish 'n' Chips. The sixth man will be Lamb Osso Buco and the reserves will be Shallot Brownies and Lukewarm Wallbanger.

I am sure that you will have many great ideas to add. We're on our way to fame and fortune.

-- Ray H., Long Beach

A: Actually, I have nothing to add. Let's just keep going.

Q: How do you think the signing of Ron Artest is paying off for the team at this point or is it too early to tell? I was all for him when we signed him, because of his toughness, but he doesn't seem to be that nasty guy that I would have liked. He seems to almost be subservient. Would this Lakers team be better with Trevor Ariza right now?

-- Peter

A: It's the question that just . . . won't . . . disappear.

I've gotten so many e-mails on this topic that I could print them out and provide enough paper to blanket the streets for next month's L.A. Marathon.

Here's my standard answer: "Keeping in mind how difficult it is to win a championship, if the Lakers win at least two titles over the five-year length of Artest's contract, it will have been worth the switch. Anything less than that, and it probably wasn't worth the change in personnel."

But let's talk for a bit longer about the two players.

Artest has been lampooned by Phil Jackson for wearing "Frankenstein" shoes, has experienced painful swelling on the underside of his feet and has been hit-or-miss in games for the team with the NBA's second-best record.

Ariza is scoring more than Artest (15.4 points a game vs. 11.6) but is shooting a woeful 38.3% for the Houston Rockets, who probably won't even make the playoffs.

Artest hasn't been fantastic for the Lakers but has pledged to return to his past defensive presence after embarking on a new running-and-diet regimen.

What about Ariza's defense? Fine, I guess. Then again, nobody in the NBA really seems to notice the Rockets outside of Houston. They're kind of a nonentity this season.

I now realize why I always stick to my standard answer. It's simply way too early to declare a winner here. Let's not talk about these guys again until 2013.

Readers can send their questions about the Lakers and the NBA to our beat reporters, but please put "Q&A" in the subject line. E-mail:

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

broderick.turner@latimes.com

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