At least… according to the OC Register.
Without Odom, the Lakers were still going to win the Western
Conference and make the NBA Finals for a third consecutive season. Then
they would be crash-test dummies for Eastern powers who have buffed up:
Cleveland with Shaquille O'Neal, Boston with Rasheed Wallace, Orlando
with Vince Carter and a one-year-older Dwight Howard.
and with no cataclysmic injuries, this budding junta cracks down on its
opposition. NBA champions tend to repeat themselves, especially when
they're as young as are the Lakers. Odom again gives the Lakers an
irresistible matchup when he starts, a clear edge off the bench when he
One thing people aren't taking into account is Odom's history of lax play. True, Odom's return helps LA greatly… but if they get the Odom that coasted through the 2008 finals, they're going to be disappointed. You have to wonder if Odom turned it on for the big contract… or if he finally figured something out.
Regardless… too much can happen between now and June for something like this to be written.