DALLAS _ Lamar Odom said give him time to get his legs under him and fans will see a different player.
“When it happens you’ll see a different player,’’ Odom said prior to tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors. “That’s basically what it is.
“I’m not sugar-coating it. My last three or four years, beat Orlando, best shape of my life; beat Boston, best shape of my life. Go win a gold medal, best shape of my life; come back with the Sixth Man (Award), best shape of my life.’’
Odom, traded from the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 10, has struggled mightily trying to adjust to his new surroundings. He believes he knows why, adding that the lockout and two-week training camp didn’t help his cause.
“Some things happen that took me away from the game, took some time off,’’ Odom said. “You’ve got to be right mentally as a person first before you do any of this.’’
Odom, who was 4-of-27 from the field in the opening three games, said he doesn’t know when his conditioning will return.
“I don’t know because those things kind of happen overnight,’’ he said. “What happens is you’ll play and what you’ve not been able to play through or things that have slowed you down, they won’t when you get into shape.
“When you get into shape, you don’t see it happen. It just kind of happens.’’
Coach Rick Carlisle said he has addressed Odom’s woes and hopes to get him turned in the right direction real soon.
“There’s an action plan that’s in place and he’s working his (butt) off,’’ Carlisle said. “He came in this morning and worked for an hour and a half.
“He’s got a ways to go, but he’s a willing worker. He was behind when he got here, conditioning-wise, and we’ll get him caught up.’’
It can’t come soon enough for Mavs fans, who were expecting Odom to pick up where he left off last year when he was the NBA’s Sixth Man Award winner.
“He’s got to find his way within our team and within our offense, because we’re a free-flowing team,’’ Carlisle said. “We don’t do much play calling, so there’s going to be a curve there.
“But look, that doesn’t affect how you run back and whether you can get in a stance or whether you block somebody out or get a rebound or any of that kind of stuff. So let’s get to that and then some of the other stuff can fall into place.’’
Owner Mark Cuban isn’t concerned about Odom’s slow start.
“This isn’t Nellie’s (Don Nelson’s) system where you just throw the ball on the floor and everybody goes and run,’’ Cuban said. “We’ve got a system and you’ve got to learn it, and you’ve got to learn how to play Mavericks basketball.
“It took us a long time last year to learn how to play Mavericks basketball. Lamar knows how to play Lamar basketball, Laker basketball. He’s so talented, he’ll learn.’’
-- Dwain Price
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