Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 1/3/12

Lamar Odom has had a rough go of it in the early part of the season.

First Odom was so upset over the proposed trade that would have sent him to New Orleans that he threw a little bit of a fit when the trade was nullified. It forced the Lakers to send Odom to the rival Dallas Mavericks for virtually nothing. Odom then got off to a slow start with his new team, averaging 4.8 points per game and shooting 16.2 percent from the floor.

It appears Odom needs to lay off the Skittles in the early part of this season.

Even Lamar Odom now admits that he appeared to camp a little out of shape. Odom is working on getting his legs under him and trying to get back into swing of things.

"I'm not in the auditioning stages of my career -- that part is over," Odom told Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'll go out and keep trucking, working hard, and when my legs come under me you'll see a different player."

Odom has been a different player since the beginning of the season. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has been trying to put Odom through his paces to get him back into game shape, likening the walkthroughs, shootarounds and games to two-a-days. Odom has a long way to go to get back to his comfortable playing level.

Last year, Odom posted an average of 14.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting 53.0 percent from the floor. He posted a 19.4 PER, the best of his career.

It is a long fall to what Odom is producing now. Through the four games, he is not only averaging fewer points and rebounds but his PER is a sterling -1.6. That was sarcasm.

The Mavericks have gotten off to the slowest of starts after winning their championship last year. Dallas is 1-4, losing Sunday night to the Timberwolves in Minnesota. that snapped Minnesota's 18-game regular season losing streak. It is not pretty for the Mavericks right now.

And Carlisle is still trying to figure out how best to use Odom and his varied skills. It has not helped that Lamar Odom is out of shape. Once he gets in shape, Dallas might be able to use him the way the Lakers used him as a playmaking stretch-4.

None of that matters though is Odom is out of shape. And until Odom gets in shape, the Mavericks are going to be huffing and puffing, waiting for him to catch up.

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This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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