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January 17, 2012
The Morning After: John Salmons is in a slump like he's never had

MINNEAPOLIS - John Salmons didn't exclude himself when discussing the problems the Kings are having on offense.

"We've just got to continue to learn how to trust each other and continue to play together and make open shots, particularly myself," Salmons said after the Kings lost 99-86 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Salmons is off to a bad start. He's shooting 35.5 percent (44-of-124) and has been dreadful from the three-point line at 18.2 percent (8-of-44).

Salmons said he's never had a stretch like he's had in the Kings' first 14 games.

"Not this bad," Salmons said. "Not this bad. I'm working through it. I've just got to keep working hard and hopefully in can start knocking down some shots."

When the Kings dealt Beno Udrih in the deal that brought them Salmons and the rights to Jimmer Fredette, the Kings believed they were upgrading their play at small forward and with Salmons and Fredette, seriously improving their three-point shooting.

Fredette is shooting 30 percent from three, which isn't great.

That's a bigger reason the Kings need more from Salmons.

Salmons' worst season from three was 29.9 percent in 2005-06, the only time he's finished below 32 percent on threes.

Salmons shooting from the field is on pace to be his worst ever.

"It's a tough one," Salmons said of his struggles. "I'm working through it. I've just got to keep shooting. I don't know, I've just got to get it done somehow."

Salmons has found himself caught up doing some of the things that have plagued the Kings on offense.

"I think guys are trying to make the right play. We've just got to trust each other. We've got some good individual, one-on-one players on our team. So when things go bad guys try to make plays for the good of the team.

Kings coach Keith Smart said lineup changes are possible after the Kings lost their third consecutive game.

Is Salmons a candidate to lose his starting job? His shooting percentage it the lowest among the starters.

Who are other options? Francisco Garcia has been part of the bench that's played better of late.

Travis Outlaw has fallen out the rotation, having not played in three of the last four games.

Donte' Greene could also get a look as he's been a boost off the bench lately.

Playing Tyreke Evans at small forward is another option and having Fredette or Isaiah Thomas run the team more are also options.

Then again, Smart could leave Salmons in the lineup and trust that he'll start making shots.

I guess we'll find out what Smart does soon. If he does not announce changes at this afternoon's practice, we'll find out Wednesday when the Kings face a surging Indiana squad.



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