Ah, John Salmons. I’m not sure I can recall a player who was so universally appreciated their first go-around with a team only to return a few years later and be the cause of nothing but moans and groans – but that’s John Salmons for you. The Philly native had his coming out party in Sacramento during the 07-08 season and only continued to ride that hot streak into the following year before he was traded to Chicago in a deadline deal. A few years (and a Nocioni) removed and Salmons returned, this time in a draft day trade with the Milwaukee Bucks that also brought Jimmer Fredette to California. A move that was influenced by then head coach Paul Westphal, many had high hopes for Salmons but those quickly vanished after Salmons looked to be a shell of his former self in his re-debut with the Kings. Salmons then drew the ire of the Kingdom as one of the few who didn’t make an appearance at the player put-on Summer workouts, an oddity given his poor performance this past season. So the question begs – does Salmons return to form? Or is the 2012-13 season looking to be a duplicate of last year?
March 14, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings shooting guard John Salmons (5) drives in against the Detroit Pistons during the third quarter at Power Balance Pavilion. The Detroit Pistons defeated the Sacramento Kings 124-112. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Scott – A leopard cannot change his spots, and while Kings fans held out some hope that Salmons could somehow transform into a viable contributor, he quickly dashed those dreams with a horrid start to the season. The Kings have little need for a ball-pounding, shoot-first small forward, and it wasn’t coincidence that Salmons never really succeeded until he was put in charge of running the second team offense. In that role, Salmons has some value and with Terrence Williams gone, Salmons should again recapture the job. He and Aaron Brooks can split ball-handling duties off the bench, but Salmons needs to make more shots to be effective.
Marilyn – John Salmons was one of my favorite players the first time he was on the Sacramento Kings. I’m still not clear why Geoff Petrie chose to bring him back. Admittedly, Salmons was awesome for Chicago and Milwaukee in their playoffs. But isn’t it like trading your used car to the dealer down the block, then watching someone else driving it around town, then deciding to buy it back for more money than you got for it? It didn’t help that John had one of the worst seasons of his career last season. Almost all of his stats fell off across the board. At 32 years of age, with a birthday in December, he is on the wrong side of 30. Still, John is a veteran with a lot of great experience around the league. I hope he brings that veteran presence to the team this season, as the team can really use him.
Bryan – There weren’t a lot of King fans thrilled with the Kings’ re-acquisition of John Salmons and the few that were happy with it, quickly soured on the former Hurricane. At one time thought to be a plus defender, Salmons couldn’t even provide that as his defensive win share dropped to a career low 0.1 and his net production (-7.1) was only ahead of Jimmer Fredette and Chuck Hayes. Last season was Salmons’ worst statistically since 2005-06 when Salmons was a 26 year old with the Philadelphia 76ers. Now, seven years later, the arrow is pointing down on Salmons’ career but that doesn’t mean he wont have a decent turnaround. It couldn’t have bottomed out much more for Salmons, so with little place to go but up, I expect Salmons to have a solid comeback. His game still is a questionable fit with this roster, given the amount of players who prefer to be ball dominant, but an improved team with some stability and a lack of competition at the three outside of James Johnson should get Salmons back on his feet. Don’t get me wrong – he wont be challenging for the Most Improved Player award – not hardly, but he should be a serviceable talent for Sacramento. And at this point, that’s all you can really hope for with Salmons.