Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt is all set to elevate his performance in the upcoming season, determined to demonstrate that he is deserving of the recent four-year, $48 million extension he secured with the team. Vanderbilt’s crucial role in the Lakers’ Western Conference Finals run last season has fueled his ambition to push his game to the next level and help the team reach new heights.
Last season, Vanderbilt brought a much-needed infusion of energy, solid defense, and relentless hustle to the Lakers, qualities that had been somewhat lacking in recent years. However, he faced challenges during the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, where his offensive limitations became apparent, resulting in limited playing time. This offseason, Vanderbilt has dedicated himself to improving his shooting skills, determined to avoid a repeat of that setback.
In a recent appearance on the Run Your Race podcast, Vanderbilt revealed the source of his inspiration by sharing the player he models his game after. He pointed to a beloved Lakers legend who left an indelible mark during his tenure with the team.
Comparing Vanderbilt’s style of play to that of Lamar Odom makes perfect sense. Both players possess similar body types and share an unwavering commitment to giving their all on every play. Odom, a fan favorite during his Lakers stint, played a pivotal role in the team’s success, contributing significantly to their two championship victories during his time with the organization.
“For me, it was really Penny (Hardaway). I grew up watching a lot of Penny. And really, like, Lamar Odom. Those were two guys I was kind of modeling my game after at the time. Just big guards that can pretty much do everything with the rock: dribble, pass, shoot, whatever. Those are two guys I was kind of modeling my game after at the time.”
The potential transformation in Vanderbilt’s game becomes evident when considering his ability to consistently sink three-point shots in the coming season, reminiscent of Odom’s prowess. Already a valuable asset to the Lakers, any additional offensive firepower Vanderbilt can provide will prove invaluable to the team’s aspirations.
As the new season approaches, all eyes are on Jarred Vanderbilt, eagerly awaiting the emergence of a player ready to seize the opportunity and make a lasting impact. With his renewed commitment to refining his game, inspired by Lakers legend Lamar Odom, Vanderbilt is poised to be a game-changer for the Los Angeles Lakers.