Lakers try to find offensive balance
By Ross Siler Staff Writer
EL SEGUNDO - The rule was drilled into his head so many times last season - "Don't leave Vladimir Radmanovic open, no matter what" - that Lakers forward Lamar Odom had no trouble recalling it in talking about his newest teammate Wednesday.
It also was easier said than done, as Odom learned during a Feb. 24 game in which Radmanovic connected on five 3-pointers and scored 19 points against the Lakers.
The next time the Lakers played the Clippers, coach Phil Jackson abandoned the idea of having Odom cover Radmanovic altogether.
Jackson started Luke Walton on Radmanovic and took his chances by matching up Odom against Elton Brand.
If Odom had trouble chasing Radmanovic all over the floor, Jackson reasoned, maybe he at least could make things a little difficult for Brand on the offensive end.
Six months later, the Lakers' new problem is how best to integrate Odom and Radmanovic in a lineup. They have one of the league's most dynamic players in Odom and one of the league's most unstoppable shooters in Radmanovic.
"Wherever he is, that's where I'm going to drive the basketball," Odom said. "Hopefully, his man stays. If he doesn't, then I'll average two or three more assists with that guy on my team."
The problem with playing a lineup with Odom and Radmanovic comes on the defensive end, where one of the two would have to match up against a bigger power forward and the other against a faster small forward.
Radmanovic gained a reputation as a one-dimensional shooter at his previous NBA stops. But he acquitted himself well on defense during the Lakers' first training camp practice Tuesday, according to assistant Kurt Rambis.
Jackson was released from the hospital Wednesday after having his right hip replaced the day before ... Guard Smush Parker sat out practice after spraining his right shoulder in practice Tuesday.