By Emmett Prosser Special to Published Mar 05, 2010 at 1:16 PM

His new teammates will tell you that John Salmons usually doesn't have much to say.

At first glance, Salmons appears to play quiet as well. There is no flash or dash in his gait. No ankle-breaking crossover dribble.

His game isn't loud ... the dude is not a pump-up-the-volume guy.

But since his arrival on Feb. 18, Salmons' smooth play is creating a new kind of noise around the Bradley Center. Ticketed for another trip to the abyss otherwise known as the NBA Lottery just seven weeks ago after Michael Redd's season-ending knee injury, the Bucks are all of the sudden in the thick of the NBA Eastern Conference playoff race.

That's right, we said Bucks and playoffs in the same sentence!

And since joining the Bucks, the soft-spoken Salmons is doing his best to make sure Milwaukee's current season doesn't end in a silent way.

Like your Dad's coolest Miles Davis record, Salmons is old school. He's not the quickest guy or the strongest guy or the most talented guy. But he's got all those fundamental basics mastered that many of today's younger pro players left somewhere on an AAU court near you, He takes what you give him and never seems to do the same thing twice.

"He's been huge for us....he's crafty," said center Andrew Bogut. "He can shoot the ball so well but he doesn't settle for that. "He draws contact and that's important for us because we need another guy who can get to the line.

Continuing to take the backcourt offensive load off the young shoulders of a struggling Brandon Jennings, Salmons scored 22 points in Milwaukee's 100-87 victory over the Washington Wizards Wednesday night.

In typical Salmons fashion, at times it almost went unnoticed. At the half, Salmons had six points and the Bucks were up by eight points. At the end of the third quarter, a glance at the scoreboard showed that Salmons was leading the club with 17 points. I think I remember two of the baskets.

"He's a veteran and he can score in a variety of ways," said coach Scott Skiles. "It's an understatement to say that he's playing very well.

Salmons has led the Bucks in scoring in six of eight games he has been with the team. Since his departure from the Chicago Bulls, he is averaging 20.4 points per game. Oh yeah, he's only had one full practice.

Joked Bogut: "Practice, who needs practice?"

The suddenly surging Bucks are now 7-1 since general manager John Hammond reeled in Salmons at the trade deadline. Of course, the new Buck is downplaying his recent success.

"You just have to know when to pick your spots and when to be aggressive," said Salmons. "We have a lot of other weapons on this team and I'm just trying to do my part.

Bogut and Brandon Jennings are certainly pleased to have another solid offensive option as the playoff crunch nears.

Despite the fact that Jennings is currently in a woeful rookie shooting slump, the Bucks also appear to move the ball better when Salmons is on the court. Despite getting outrebounded last night, the Bucks finished with 29 assists.

"He's really helped take the pressure off me and Bogut," said Jennings. My shot is not falling, but we're winning and he's a big reason why." 

Emmett Prosser Special to

Emmett Prosser is a former sports producer at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online and has covered the Brewers, Bucks and Marquette basketball in many capacities for 13 years.

Prosser also signed a year's worth of 10-day contracts with the Cleveland Cavaliers' media relations department after graduating from Xavier University so he could get three-point shooting tips from NBA great Mark Price. The son of an English teacher and former basketball coach, Prosser attended Marquette high school.

In his spare time, Prosser enjoys live music and fooling people into making them believe he can play the drums. He also serves on the board of directiors for United Cerebral Palsy.