Mighty Sports head coach Charles Tiu was pleasantly surprised by Lamar Odom’s showing in limited minutes during the team’s tuneup game against Blackwater on Saturday.
“He’s also better than what I expected. He’s been getting better slowly, little by little every day, so that’s a big positive for us. I don’t think he’s where he wants to be yet, and I think he knows it himself. But hopefully, given a few more days, he’ll be fine. Like I’ve been saying, he hasn’t played basketball in an organized way in five years,” he said.
Odom showed flashes of brilliance even after scoring only five points. While he didn’t attempt a single shot inside the paint, his sublime passing was on display early as he set up fellow import Justin Brownlee for a wide-open triple from the right wing in the opening period. He then made a couple of nice entry passes to a cutting Papi Sarr inside later in the second quarter and played smart basketball all the way until the final buzzer sounded.
“That’s what I expected naman because he’s never been the one-on-one type of guy. I actually wanted him to go one-on-one a bit more nga eh. He’s not that young, he’s also 39. But he’s an unselfish guy, he’s been a very good teammate to be honest. I can’t complain about the attitude that he’s brought for us,” Tiu said.
“You can tell his feel for the game, it’s all there. Andun pa rin ‘yung IQ, he knows who to pass the ball to, but siyempre ‘yung body niya is still not cooperating the way it used to. I think he is starting to figure out what he can and can’t do,” he added.
Odom himself stated that he is still getting his feet wet again after being away from competitive basketball for more than five years.
“It was okay for me. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the court so it’s good to just pop my cherry,” the two-time NBA champion said.
“My legs are dead a little bit, but they’ll get better and better as time goes on,” he added.
But as their build-up for the 30th Dubai International Basketball Championship kicks into high gear, the former Rookie of the Year awardee is positive that he’ll continue to make an even bigger impact while striving to get in the best shape possible.
“I felt good. I was able to find a couple of guys in their spots. Hopefully I can keep doing that, and just keep rebounding the ball and playing defense,” said Odom.
“Just gotta keep getting in better shape. Just gotta keep pushing and pushing myself,” he added.