Losing never looked so good.
That’s the magic of John Salmons.
The 12-year NBA veteran is entering his sixth season with the Sacramento Kings, and his third since re-joining the team in June 2011. In the presence of Salmons, the team is 132-233.
Kings fans have often directed their wrath at Salmons, as the swingman makes himself an easy target. He loves to shoot, and shoot, and occasionally pump-fake and shoot. Salmons’ jumper is a natural fadeaway, and his shot selection knows no boundaries. Lord forbid, he goes cold sometimes.
What his critics don’t mention is how the Kings would be even worse without his alienating plays. Salmons could create his own offense when Mike Bibby couldn’t set him up, and the volume scorer at no time backed down from a big shot. (He owns a handful of game-winners to show for it.) He came off the bench and never pouted. The pro didn’t butt heads with teammates.
In his prime, Salmons was worth every dollar of the five-year, $25.5 million deal he signed with Sacramento in 2006. In addition to his wild jump shot, the wing could drive in either direction to the lane and post up smaller twos and threes with ease. Salmons was a tenacious on-ball defender who took the top assignment when Ron Artest and Francisco Garcia sat.
Salmons is now 33, and while the burst is declining, he is adapting to be a role piece. Spontaneous pull-ups are not so common, and his defense remains invaluable on a club trying to find a stoppers’ mentality. Salmons is still a threat behind the arc, hitting 37.1% of his 3-pointers last season, and he hammers a dunk every month or so.
Salmons has not led the Kings to many victories, but he did entertain those who showed up to games, which wasn’t an easy task. Few NBA players can induce the emotional rush of his off-balanced artistry, a second of prayer as the ball is flung to the hoop. Salmons has one year and $7.6 million remaining on a $39 million extension he attained in 2010 with the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Kings can buy him out for $1 million next offseason. The future is bleak, so we’d like to say thanks for making bad basketball a must-see attraction.
Photo Credit: CBS Sacramento