Tag:John Salmons
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:12 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:12 pm
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Wednesday Night Game-Winner Power Rankings

By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver  


Wednesday night was one of those nights in the NBA. Multiple game winners, so many that we decided we need to break them down, power rankings style. 


1. Rose does MJ: Derrick Rose's game winner had to be the best of the night for pure elegance. It had everything we look for from a winner: at the buzzer, walk off, isolation, high degree of difficulty, total calm, nothing but net. So much was going on in this one. He read the defense patiently, unleashed some crippling dribble moves, created and took the exact shot he wanted and even had large swaths of a road crowd cheering for him. Watch that thing and try not to think Michael Jordan.



2. Kyrie Irving's end-to-end. Irving's dash to the rim for what would be the game winner wasn't 94 feet of basketball brilliance, but it was as close as you want it to be. The fact that Byron Scott had the confidence in Irving to navigate all that space and the tactical knowledge to know the Nuggets wouldn't expect Irving to just get a running start and barrel to the basket deserves some points, while Irving's approach to switch hands on approach shows off his handle. That kid is something special. 



3. Isaiah Thomas read-and-react. Thomas, at his best, is the type of undersized guard that just makes you marvel. That he was the 2011 NBA Draft's "Mr. Irrelevant" just makes the story that much better. Thomas was at his best on Wednesday night, intercepting an idiotic entry pass at full stretch and with perfect timing. Thomas' game is all action/reaction/action and he made an incredibly heady play to move the ball forward to a streaking John Salmons, hitting him in stride. No second-guessing, no covering the ball to allow the defense to react. Just pure open court instinct in a very unusual game situation. The only downside is that it wasn't a walk off winner, or the Power Balance Pavilion might have stormed the court. Thomas' growing reputation for putting smiles on faces continues to grow.

 

4. DWill trusts Farmar. What? Why aren't people flipping out over Deron Williams passing up the crucial shot in the Nets' win over the Clippers like they did with LeBron James? Regardless, Williams made a great play and Farmar didn't get too excited or go hero-mode. He just lined up and knocked down the open jumper. You know, the right basketball play. On the opposite end of the spectrum,CP3 was never going to take that pass, and gambling on it meant he couldn't run Farmar off. Big mistake as Farmar's been en fuego from the outside this year.  



5. Nick Young has daggers on daggers.  If this was later in the game, it would be a top-three candidate. After all, Young did rise and fear to knock off the master of rise and fire. But alas, we had more free throws and missed Kobe Bryant threes to get through before it was said and done. But make no mistake, Nick Young's dagger to punch the Lakers' comeback attempt was the game winner in the Wizards' stunner over L.A.. 

Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:54 am
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Pacific Division Preview



By Matt Moore


We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Pacific Division.

2011 Standings:

Los Angeles Lakers, 57-25, lost 4-0 to Dallas Mavericks in 2nd round of Western Conference Playoffs
Phoenix Suns, 42-42, NBA Draft lottery
Golden State Warriors,36-46, NBA Draft lottery
Los Angeles Clippers, 32-50, NBA Draft lottery
Sacramento Kings, 24-58, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Well, see, the thing is... Chris Paul (UPDATE: TIE- LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS)

Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night. Even with the Lakers unable to obtain Paul, the combination of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum is probably enough to take the honors here. But with Paul joining Blake Griffin, even without Eric Gordon, the additions of Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups and re-signing DeAndre Jordan make as tough of a team to face as any. Griffin's impact next to Chris Paul is nearly incalculable.

The Lakers may still have the edge, but after the loss of Odom, everything is up in the air as far as who runs Staples now. The reality is that Paul landing in the city of L.A. will shift the division in one direction or another for the next half-decade at least.

Worst team: Sacramento Kings

The Kings are tricky. They have a convoluted backcourt. Tyreke Evans took a step back last season and it remains to be seen if it was all injury-related or not. There's no telling how Jimmer Fredette will adjust to the pro level. Marcus Thornton will struggle for minutes despite his all-around ability. John Salmons is floating around. There were huge chemistry questions last season and the players struggled against coach Paul Westphal at times.

If things don't improve, if DeMarcus Cousins doesn't mature, if Chuck Hayes can't protect the rim enough with his diminutive stature, things could get bad. And yet...

Biggest surprise: Sacramento Kings

There's so much firepower in that backcourt. Untangling it is complicated but they have everything. Shooting, athleticism, size, range, explosiveness, savvy, handle, everything. They have too much ability to not be effective in some ways. Cousins was a beast last season and even a small amount of maturity and development means he could be a near-All-Star (in the East, the West is too stacked). They have young talented bigs and Hayes who provides savvy and veteran knowledge.

The pieces are there. They're going to be exciting, even if they're struggling with an identity.

Three Best Players: Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Chris Paul

Update: With Paul joining the division, he instantly becomes one of the three best players. The best pure point guard in the league, with excellent shooting touch, terrific defense, and a supreme will to win? He leap-frogs both Pau and Nash. 

Kobe Bryant needs no explanation, even at his age. The end.

Blake Griffin is the most explosive player in the league and the first player in a few years for people to say he could legitimately be the best player in the league at one point. His explosiveness and rebounding is unmatched, his mid-range jumper isn't lightyears away and his defense will get there. Already, Griffin is a force to be reckoned with. What happens when he gets better?

Gasol vs. Nash? Gasol was an early season MVP candidate. He is arguably the most skilled big man in the league (as opposed to Dwight Howard, the most dominant and most talented). And yet his collapse in the 2011 playoffs is the stuff of legend. It was such a complete failure at both ends, when the Lakers needed him most, it's damning. Gasol could very well be the second best player in this division this year. He could also slide back with age.

Nash? Ho-hum, another 50-40-90 season (got to round up for once, but still). His weighted assists, factoring three-pointers assisted on, left him at 13, which means combined with his 15 points per game, he contributed 41 points per game to the Suns. That's absurd. It's also not the highest in the league for a point guard, but it's still an example of how good Nash is. He's flat-out old in relative terms of the league, and yet is in the best shape he possibly could be thanks to conditioning. Nash is still elite, an therefore neither he nor Gasol can be exempted.

Biggest Question: Can Golden State change its stripes?

Mark Jackson has to completely turn what the Warriors know as their identity inside out. They have to commit to defensive principles. David Lee, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, these players are not known for this, at all. It's going to take a miracle. If Jackson can get them to buy in and if his system is good enough, the Warriors could make a jump. Kwame Brown helps down low (don't laugh, he's become a quality defender). But there's so much to be done in terms of changing this team's indentity, the Warriors could be in for rocky seas.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
Posted on: June 23, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 5:56 pm
 

NBA TRADE: Bucks, Bobcats, Kings 3-way

Posted by Matt Moore

Update 4:14 p.m.: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the Bobcats moved up to No. 7 to select Bismack Biyombo. That makes for a crazy pairing with Tyrus Thomas and the most athletic pair of frontcourt players in the league, probably, based on raw length and leaping ability.

Additionally, a writer from NBA.com notes that the move for the Kings was not made in anticipation of a second deal with San Antonio. Such a fail for the Kings.

Original Report: In a day filled with trade rumors on what's expected to be a wild night even with a disappointing draft class, things touched off Thursday afternoon as the Bobcats, Bucks, and Kings completed a three-way trade. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports:

The Bucks receive: Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, and the No.19 pick from Charlotte.

The Kings receive: John Salmons and the No.10 from the Bucks.

The Bobcats receive: Corey Maggette and the No. 7 pick from Sacramento.


Analysis: .... WHAT?! That's our general reaction. You're looking at three shooting guards with massive deals getting moved around. Here's the contract run downs from ShamSports.com:

Jackson: Two years, over $19 million, all guaranteed. 

Salmons: Four years, $31 million, over $24 million guaranteed.

Maggette: Two years, over $21 million, all guaranteed.

So the Bucks moved over $45 million guaranteed, and took on $35 million (Jackson plus $14 million from Udrih), saving them over $10 million and dumping most of their bloated contracts. The Bobcats took on Maggette which is an upgrade at the two-guard position, and managed to keep their No.9 pick, now giving them the 7th and 9th pick in Thursday's draft. And the Kings? Uh, they moved back three spots and picked up an aging, undersized shooting guard to go with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton. ...Okay. 

Winner: We'll call it the Bucks, who lost all that salary and still picked up an upgrade on the wing, and still kept a top-20 pick. The addition of Udrih is curious considering Brandon Jennings' place on the roster and will add more question marks towards his future. (Some reports have Shawn Livingston included in the deal going to Milwaukee.) But they cleared all that space and still kept a pick, which is pretty impressive. It's a chance for the Bucks to move back, bring in a wing, and clear some space for a restructured CBA after their spending spree last summer. Grade: B+

Co-Winner: If the Bobcats hadn't had to take on Maggette, they would have won this. Maggette's not a terrible fill-in for Jackson, and the addition of the 7th pick while keeping the 9th means the Bobcats have a chance to wholly remake themselves in the draft, which they have struggled at through the years. This move reeks of Rich Cho, opting for a youth movement while clearing space. If Livingston is indeed included, the Bobcats will actually have managed to save money through this with total outgoing salary of over $22 million compared to Maggette's $21 million incoming. And they get the No.7 pick to go with their No.9. They can draft a big and a wing, two bigs, both Morris twins, Jimmer Fredette as a flyer pick, anything. Grade: B+

Loser: What in God's name are the Kings thinking? Is this some sort of desperate move to make the fans hate them so they'll stop wishing they would stay in Sacramento? There's talk this could be in anticipation of a move for Tony Parker. Even then, a small-market franchise taking on Salmons contract along with Parker's is a rough idea. And where does this leave Marcus Thornton? Is he doomed to perpetual burying by his coaching staff? Will Salmons come off the bench? What is the thought process here? 

The Kings presumably think they can get the guy they want at No. 10 versus No. 7, but taking on Salmons is such a blow, despite giving up Udrih. Udrih wasn't the answer at point guard. Salmons isn't the answer at anything they need.  Grade: F- (pending further action)
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:30 am
 

Preseason Primer: Milwaukee Bucks

Posted by Matt Moore

Fear the Deer. It became the meme of the NBA last season, and you were hard-pressed to find a hardcore NBA-head who didn't love the scrappy team from Milwaukee. Heading into training camp things are dramatically different. Andrew Bogut is recovering from injury again, but outside of that, the stakes are much higher. The Bucks were the fifth seed in the East and had it not been for Bogut's injury likely would have bested the Hawks. Now they need to somehow improve on last year's performance in an Eastern Conference which is loaded at every turn. What do they have to do in training camp to get that done? We'll let you in on the secrets as we continue our Preseason Primers.

Training camp site: Milwaukee, WI />
Training camp starts: September 28th

Key additions: Corey Maggette (trade), Drew Gooden (free agency), Larry Sanders (draft), Chris Douglas-Roberts (trade)

Key subtractions: Charlie Bell (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Dan Gadzuric (trade)

Likely starting lineup: Brandon Jennings (PG), John Salmons (SG), Corey Maggette (SF), Drew Gooden (PF), Andrew Bogut (C)

Player to watch: Chris Douglas-Roberts. Okay, this is a lie. If Brandon Jennings is involved in any way, you watch him. But CDR's not a bad backup option, literally. With the Bucks needing a legit backup shooting guard, CDR has a chance to capitalize on his combination of handle and size if he can develop into a well-rounded player that commits to Scott Skiles' system. CDR is also highly explosive and can go off at any time, so how he reacts to Skiles' military approach may be the defining verdict on his career if things go sour.


Chemistry quiz: The Bucks worked really well together last year and embraced Jennings as a leader. The question will be how players like Drew Gooden, CDR, and Corey Maggette do in a system that asks them sacrifice and play defense consistently. The team struggled offensively last year, but a perk of that was a lack of ego-centric players who weren't looking for their shot. As delicate as chemistry is, the changes the Bucks brought in could create too many guys looking for FGAs.


Camp battles: Carlos Delfino versus Corey Maggette should be a great one. Maggette had a fantastic season last year and is a better overall player than Maggette. But Maggette has the contract and offensive firepower to demand a starting spot. Skiles abandoned Delfino in the playoffs when he wasn't in a good matchup. There's no telling how this one will wind up, but Delfino's play in FIBA this summer certainly is cause for excitement.

Injury issues:
I think the fact that reports have come out daily about Andrew Bogut's elbow is probably indicative he's a concern. That and the fact that he had more metal put in than that chick in Fringe with they cybernetic arm. That too.

Biggest strength: Simplicity. The Bucks don't over-complicate things. They defend like rabid animals, run basic offensive sets geared to give playmakers the ball in space, and work their tail off. It's an optimal system not only for a standard of success, anchored by a talented point guard and center, but easy for new pieces to fit in. Skiles continues to impress as a coach that is able to get through to guys and convince them to commit.

Glaring weakness: They added multiple offensive weapons, but there are going to be concerns with the age of both Maggette and Gooden, as well as how Brandon Jennings fits with all these high-usage players on board. That same simplicity also creates problems when they hit a team with a counter to their approach.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 3:25 am
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Posted on: August 23, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2010 9:34 am
 

NBA Pop Quiz: Are the Bucks legit?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We kick off our Pop Quiz series with the following question...

Is Milwaukee Legit?


The Bucks had terrible prospects going into last season. Considered an Eastern-Conference also-ran, with a questionable "centerpiece" center in Andrew Bogut and a reach of a first-rounder in Brandon Jennings, no one expected them to succeed. And yet, despite all the criticisms constantly lobbed at Scott Skiles, his team did what his teams do best. They defended like samurai, attacked the glass, and won far more games than they were expected to. Additionally, Brandon Jennings made a legitimate push for Rookie of the Year, an award he likely would have won were it not for Tyreke Evans' historic performance (with apologies to Stephen Curry's wheeling and dealing). Jennings had nights where his questionable shot selection, fueled by the kind of confident sense of bravado you want in your superstar, hurt the team, but more often than not, he proved himself exactly what the team has needed for a decade: a true star.

But that was last season. And after Andrew Bogut's arm injury has him still trying to fight through rehab
, the question has to be asked. Are the Bucks legit, or was last season the type of spike that fans will look back on as the high point, followed by a long slide back to the margins?  If we're going to try and suss out the answer, we need to look at their strengths and weaknesses.

The Bucks were the fourth best defense last season (we're talking defensive efficiency here, don't fall for the fallacy of points per game, which doesn't account for pace). They were fourth in opponents' turnover ratio but only tenth in opponents' field goal percentage (45.1%). But very relevant? They were fourth best at defending at the rim . That's got a lot to do with Bogut, who was an absolute iron curtain down low. But Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and even Dan Gadzuric were all good at attacking anyone that dared challenge the Bucks at the iron. They were also sixth in three-point defense. What this means is that the two most efficient areas on the floor, the Bucks were exceptional at. Their only real area of problems, defensively? 10-15 Feet, where they were dead last in field goal percentage allowed. So the Bucks really needed to upgrade their wing and mid-range defenders.

Which is fitting, because similarly their wing offense was also where they desperately needed help. The Bucks' offense in general was a mess , but with Jennings and Bogut, they at least have cornerstones to work with. The addition John Salmons was significant for improving their scoring distribution, and Carlos Delfino proved to be a valuable asset as well. The best news for the Bucks is that they improved precisely at that position, filling in for the injured now-trade-chip Michael Redd with Corey Maggette, while only losing Gadzuric and seldom-used wing Charlie Bell.

The Bucks improved at the position they needed to, adding both Salmons (and subsequently re-signing him) and also added a ton of muscle down low by drafting Larry Sanders and adding Drew Gooden in free agency. While Gooden's usage is a bit high, he does provide somewhat of a backup plan in case Andrew Bogut continues to struggle recovering from the arm injury. That said, just as it was in the playoffs, this team's chances are tied to Bogut. Bogut has to not only recover, but re-assume his position as a premier big man in the league if the Bucks are going to repeat their success of last year. Similarly, Brandon Jennings has to take a step forward, grow a sense that maybe that off-balance 18-foot jumper on the run is not the best option offensively for this particular moment of time, regardless of how hot he "feels."

This is a team sound throughout its principles and structure. But its superstars will have to take steps forward if they're going to keep pace with the rest of an improved Eastern Conference.

Finally, the real test for if this team is legit is if Skiles manages to get the same effort night after night from this team that he did last season. There's been a pattern with Skiles' losing the ears of his players with the incessant yelling and discipline, and it'll be up to him to show some restraint and trust. Not exactly something he's known for. But Skiles has improved in his coaching style, so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

At the end of the day, the Bucks won with defense, rebounding, a dynamic point guard and stellar center. That's a formula that's been relied on to win. Throw in the fact that they added to their team while losing no essential component, and while it's not a sure thing, it's safe to say you can legitimately fear the deer for another year. That was an unfortunate rhyme.

Be sure to follow the NBA Facts and Rumors blog on Twitter @CBSSportsNBA


Posted on: July 1, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Bucks still working to re-sign Salmons

As free agents start agreeing to deals (before the July 7th date they can sign), many teams are trying to take care of their own business before looking elsewhere. The Bucks in particular have been focused on re-signing John Salmons, who is the B-grade version of Joe Johnson in this year's free agency.

David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that Salmons is close to signing a 5-year, $39 million deal with Milwaukee. A person involved in the process told CBSSports.com today that Salmons' deal "might get done with Milwaukee, might get done with somebody else."

"Nothing's done right now" the source added.

With Salmons along with recently acquired Corey Maggette to go along with Brandon Jennings' development and a healthy Andrew Bougt, the Bucks would likely feature a balanced, versatile offensive attack. Wing was really their weakest position last year, until a mid-season trade for Salmons with the Bulls helped boost their attack, only to see Bogut go down with a broken wrist.

The Bucks may not be looking to add any of the max free agents, but Hammond has been very active in the offeason thus far. And we're less than a day into free agency.
Posted on: July 1, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 12:26 pm
 

Bucks sign Gooden to MLE.. wait, what?!


Let's take a minute and look back at what the Milwaukee Bucks have done in the past ten days.

Traded for Cory Maggette.

Traded for Chris Douglas-Roberts.

Kept Carlos Delfino.

Drafted Larry Sanders.

And now, they've signed Drew Gooden for the Mid-Level Exception, at a clip of 5 years for $32 million (via Yahoo! Sports). This despite having Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute on roster, both whom are considered high-upside, versatile, talented players, and Gooden having spent time in more cities than a mid-70's hobo.

So what in the name of Bogut is Bucks GM John Hammond up to?

The Gooden signing makes sense if you listen to Bucks blog BrewHoop, which says the team needed veteran depth at power forward. And Gooden certainly provides that at 29. You do have to wonder about the contract, the length of the contract, and how Gooden fits. The Bucks' offense was definitely their weak point last season. They do need someone who's able to produce offense. And Gooden averaged 15.7 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes last season .

The problem is usage (estimated percentage of possessions used). Gooden had the 12th highest usage of any power forward in the league playing at least 30 minutes last season. That's a lot for a guy who is considered a journeyman role player. His efficiency numbers are good, and Gooden comes with a wide range of verstaile skills. It's just curious that the Bucks seem to have loaded up so much at the forward positions, especially with John Salmons still drifting in unrestricted-free-agent land. Probably most curious was the fact that Hammond committed five years to a 29 year-old role player when he has such a young nucleus.

It makes you wonder if Hammond is done with moves beyond re-signing John Salmons and other free agent Luke Ridnour.

-Matt Moore


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com