Last year the Bucks made a big trade to land John Salmons, which ultimately elevated them into the playoffs. Salmons came in and filled in for the injured Micheal Redd, although we hadn’t really gotten much production from Redd, to be a perimeter scorer that was desperately needed. Salmons was in Milwaukee for the final 30 games and really did provide a boost.
This season Salmons has, well, sucked. He is not the primary reason the Bucks are on the outside of the playoffs but he is a big reason the team has fallen a long ways off of the expectations of an Eastern Conference top four seed. The team resigned Salmons in the off-season and there were plenty of whispers of caution from the likes of Bill Simmons and a large number of Bulls fans, “Buyer Beware.” We Bucks fans ignored those warnings, we figured “He is a Buck now, Skiles will keep him motivated.”
We were wrong.
The entire spectrum of sports has seen a massive change in the amount of stats available to track player performance and basketball has enjoyed a bigger boost than anybody. Before, the only stats known were Points Per Game, Rebounds Per Game and Assists Per game. Those stats along with blocks and steals were about it. Not anymore.
Salmons has had several large drops when comparing last year’s 30 games with the Bucks to the first 34 games of this season. These rankings are for Shooting Guards only.
PER: 11.56 ranked 46th for SGs. Last year 17.54, 9th
Player Efficiency Rating is the overall rating of a player’s per-minute statistical production. The league average is 15.00 every season.
True Shooting %: .494 ranked 56th. Last year .581 ranked 10.
TS%: True Shooting Percentage – what a player’s shooting percentage would be if we accounted for free throws and 3-pointers. True Shooting Percentage = (Total points x 50) divided by [(FGA + (FTA x 0.44)]
Value Added: 20.1 ranked 37th. Last year 177.2 ranked 16th. I could not track down the value added in the 30 games for Milwuakee alone.
VA: Value Added – the estimated number of points a player adds to a team’s season total above what a ‘replacement player’ (for instance, the 12th man on the roster) would produce. Value Added = ([Minutes * (PER - PRL)] / 67). PRL (Position Replacement Level) = 11.5 for power forwards, 11.0 for point guards, 10.6 for centers, 10.5 for shooting guards and small forwards
And 1%: This stats records how often the player is able to convert the basket and get to the foul line. Salmons has dropped from 3.6 of these per game to a career low 1.2.
FG%: 38.2, last year 46.7.
PPG: 13.9, last year 19.9
The big drops for Salmons have come in the FG%, the TS% and the And1%. His three point % is actually higher this year so it is not just a matter of being cold. I think a few things all play in here. He is not as aggressive, aggressive players get more calls and aggressive players finish at the basket. His lower FG% combined with lower And1% shows that he is not finishing like last year. Two more And1’s per game can lead to six points alone. It is also possible he is shooting more mid-range jumpers but actually he is just missing more, from everywhere.
Shots At the Rim: 47.6%, last year 57.6%
Less than 10 Feet: 42.2%, last year 53.6%
10 – 15 Feet: 32.4%, last year 40%
16-23 Feet: 31%, 46%
All of those are career lows, or extremely close to career lows, from each distance. The biggest problem(s) for Salmons has been a noticeable drop-off in his shooting accuracy and he is not making it up by getting to the line more.
What do we do for the rest of the contract? I have no idea. This is the risk when signing any free agent but in the future if there are any rumblings that the player can be frustrating and will not show up after he is given a contract I will listen much closer than I did this time.