In 2010, around the NBA All-Star break, the Milwaukee Bucks saw their season slipping away. They needed to make a splash during the second half of the season if they had any hopes of making the playoffs. Then, on February 18th, Milwaukee fans got wind that the team made a trade. The Bucks sent a first round pick, Hakim Warrick, and Joe Alexander to the Bulls in exchange for a first round pick, two second round picks, and…John “The Savior” Salmons.
The Milwaukee Bucks 2009-10 season was single handedly turned around by Salmons. He went on a tear as soon as he joined the team. From February 28th through March 22nd, Salmons averaged 21.8 points per game on 48.6% shooting from the field and and an elite 44.7% from three. In the total 30 games he played for the Bucks in 2010, he averaged 19.9 points per game while shooting 46.7% from the field and 38.5% from deep. He also averaged 3.3 assists per game, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. In those 30 games, led by Salmons, the Bucks were 22-8 and ended up as the #6 seed in the East.
Unfortunately, the Bucks lost in 7 games to the Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford led Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. Salmons struggled with his shot in the playoffs but if it wasn’t for him, Milwaukee wouldn’t have even been there in the first place.
The next season, with John Salmons returning and new acquisitions such as Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden, the Bucks felt poised for another playoff berth. Salmons regressed a bit in 2010-11 but was still Milwaukee’s most consistent, reliable option. He played 73 games and averaged 14.0 points per game shooting 41.5% from the field and 37.9% from three. He also averaged 3.6 rebounds per game, and 3.5 assists. However, even with Salmon’s solid play, the Bucks finished with a 35-47 record and missed the playoffs.
After the 2010-11 season, Bucks fans were shocked when they found out Salmons was traded a few months into the offseason. The Bucks received Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston, Tobias Harris, and Shaun Livingston in a trade that saw Milwaukee getting rid of Salmons, Maggett, and Jimmer Fredette.
Even though John Salmons was only in Milwaukee for a short bit of time, he made a lasting impact on Bucks culture. The best years of his entire 13-year career came in Milwaukee. Whenever fans are asked about the mid 2000s Bucks, John Salmons is a name that always comes up and brings a smile to people’s faces. He was Milwaukee’s savior before Giannis and should be appreciated for bringing excitement during a dark time in Bucks’ history.