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Darius Johnson-Odom battling for a Lakers roster spot

July 19, 2012|By Andrew L. John
  • Darius Johnson-Odom participates in a pre-draft workout for the Charlotte Bobcats in June.
Darius Johnson-Odom participates in a pre-draft workout for the Charlotte… (Bob Leverone / Associated…)

While the Lakers dream of Dwight Howard and wait for Antawn Jamison to sign, there are still a few spots at the end of the roster up for grabs.

Fighting for one of those spots is Darius Johnson-Odom, the Lakers' No. 55 pick in June’s draft via a trade with Dallas for $500,000 in cash considerations. He has come off the bench in all four games for the Lakers in the Las Vegas summer league and possesses qualities that could make him a good fit for L.A.

During his three years at shooting guard for Marquette, Johnson-Odom drilled 221 3-pointers at a 40% clip. The Lakers need players who can stretch the defense and create for themselves, and Johnson-Odom is such a player.

He also has the athleticism (40-inch vertical) and length (6-foot-7 wingspan) that’ll help make up for his lack of size (6-foot-2, although he's a sturdy 215 pounds), and he’s quick enough to guard opposing point guards.

“He has the strength and athleticism to do some things that not many guys his size can do,” Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said earlier this week.

The drawback is that Johnson-Odom isn’t a great ball handler or distributor and will have to play primarily off the ball.

"He’ll have to play against bigger guys, but that’s really nothing new to him," Williams said. "There will be an adjustment for him, but he has the work ethic and determination to continue to get better, which is what he did each year for us."

ALSO:

Lakers get forward Antawn Jamison to bolster bench

Lakers' bench leaves fans pining for championship days of yore

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak still swinging for 'home run' — Dwight Howard

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