by Craig Kwasniewski
Back on November 20th, people were wondering what's wrong with the "Laker's Scottie Pippen." With Phil back, wasn't Odom to become Pippen as much as Kobe was to become MJ? The Lakers even brought in Pippen to coach Odom back in training camp. Now THAT should make Lamar EXACTLY like Pippen, right?
First off, can we stop underestimating how great Scottie Pippen was? Scottie Pippen was a unique player in the mold of great NBA number 2's like Worthy, McHale and Dumars. Their personality along with their talent allowed them to play second fiddle to a superstar and still win championships. You can't just say that anyone is a new Pippen or the next Dumars....just stop it right now!
Anyway, while hiding under his new label, Odom stood around and watched Kobe jack up 30 plus shots in one loss after another. There was a stretch where Odom had the "get me the hell out of here" look on his face. That face was very present in the Great Rudy Tomjanovich era of 2004-05, all 43 games of it. Then something changed inside Mr. 420....
His alter ego came out. Suddenly he was aggressively driving to the basket, rebounding more and running the offense. He became Modo Ramal, the 2nd best basketball player on the Lakers. You see, a name like Modo Ramal sounds like one of Tony Montana's henchman. "Jay Modo, wye dont jou come o'er dare and shoot dat fawking guy!" (Can't you see the pastel suit, the porn stache, the jheri curls and the Uzi?)
Anyway, Modo needed to come out and play for the Lakers. The Lakers needed his rebounding, passing, court vision and offensive aggression. Ramal's averaging 18 points, 6.8 assists and 10.3 rebounds over the past eight games. Until Modo started playing, the Lakers were dumping the ball into Kobe, watching him go 1-on-5. Now that Modo is playing for the Lakers, other players have fed off of his aggression. Smush Parker is shooting the ball as the Triangle offense dictates. Even eternal stiff, Chris Mihm has joined in the offense the past few games.
Now I'm not saying that the Lakers are suddenly playoff contenders, but as long as Modo Ramal is present, they are competitive. Let's just hope that Modo won't change back into Lamar anytime soon.