Though most experts thought the voting was a mere formality, reports have surfaced that claim Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom has won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. A formal announcement and presentation are scheduled for 3 p.m. PT this afternoon.
Odom started 35 games and came off the bench in 47, making him eligible, since the only requirement being that a player come in as a reserve more than he starts.
While he only set a career-high in field goal percentage (53 percent) anyone who watched him on a regular basis this year would tell you that this was Odom’s best season. And they would be right.
The 31-year-old finished the regular season averaging 14.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 32.2 minutes per game. He elevated his game at the defensive end as well, and improved his 3-point shooting (38.2 percent this year, 31.9 last year).
Odom also became a leader on the floor. He was often maligned by Phil Jackson for his lack of focus and aggressiveness in past seasons, not so this year. It’s possible that his settled personal life has helped Odom re-focus his game, but he has seemed far more relaxed on the court this season. On top of that, he has developed into one of the more respected players in the Lakers locker room and even around the league.
The award went to the right guy this year, as Odom’s contributions to the Lakers are as important as those of any in the league.
Congrats to Lamar Odom for taking home his well-deserved award.