Five things to know about John Salmons
1) He’s primarily a small forward. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Salmons spent 57 percent of his minutes on the floor last season at small forward, with 42 percent coming at shooting guard and 1 percent at point guard. Since the 2011-12 season, the vast majority of his playing time has come at the “three” spot.
2) New Orleans is his sixth NBA team. He previously played for Philadelphia, Sacramento (two separate stints), Chicago, Milwaukee and Toronto. Coincidentally, during his rookie season of 2002-03, the 76ers made the Eastern Conference playoffs and faced New Orleans in the first round (NOLA did not move to the Western Conference until the 2004-05 realignment). That was also the first season that the then-Hornets played in the Crescent City. Philadelphia won the series in six games. Salmons played only in Game 3 and Game 4 of that series, both in New Orleans.
3) Current Pelicans assistant coach Randy Ayers was Salmons’ head coach in Philadelphia during the 2003-04 season. Salmons is a Philadelphia native, meaning he got to play for his hometown NBA team during his first four pro seasons. He starred in college at the University of Miami, before being picked 26th overall in the 2002 draft.
4) For some reason, he’s been particularly effective when facing New Orleans. A noted “Hornet killer” earlier in his NBA career, Salmons’ career scoring average of 10.7 points in 32 total games against New Orleans is his fourth-best vs. the league’s 30 franchises. His field-goal percentage of 49.8 is tied for his best. Meanwhile, he’s shot 48.6 percent from three-point range vs. New Orleans, Salmons’ most accurate rate against anyone. By comparison, he’s a career 36.6 percent three-point shooter overall.
5) At age 34, he immediately becomes the oldest and most experienced player on the Pelicans’ roster. With 28 career playoff games under his belt, he has the second-most postseason experience, behind only new center Omer Asik (33 games). Strangely, in each of his last three trips to the playoffs, Salmons’ team has lost a Game 7 in the first round, including this spring when Toronto was defeated by Brooklyn. In 2010, Salmons’ Bucks lost to the Hawks; the year before, the Bulls dropped a classic seven-game series to the Celtics.