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International John Salmons Underground Appreciation Society

This man is a beast from heaven.

I won't belabor in reminding you of the general John Salmons sentiment spread through Sacramento this time last season. His debut season -- the best statistical effort of his career -- was so underwhelming even Geoff Petrie asserted he needed to stop handing out long-term mid-level contracts. Basically, the man who pulls the trigger did something he never does, and admitted a deal was a mistake (in his muted, philosophical way, of course). Guess what? John Salmons was no mistake.

Even through the early hotness this year, skepticism reigned. And why not? All players get hot, some to extremes farther than the norm. When Salmons joined Kevin Martin to form a Big Two in the absence of a point guard or a power forward, it was nice, it was a surprise, it was mildly glorious if only for new opportunities of the mind to sprout. "Ah, interesting, Salmons can play a little. Hmm." We severely underestimated our pious partner in mid-range destruction.

This string, ah, it's unbelievable. (That he almost went home sick, and instead delivered 44 minutes of salvation is but the latest revelation.) In five January games, his line looks like this:

23 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals

One game was in doubt due to a sprained ankle, a second due to the flu. His season has been on par with Jason Richardson ($12 million a year), Vince Carter ($15 million a year), and Brandon Roy (reigning R.O.Y.). He is quickly fleeing the Land of Nice Piece, hopping the border to the Unified States of the Key Cog Republic and threatening to invade the Commonwealth of the Centerpiece (population: Kevin Martin).

What John Salmons has done is on par with Martin's 2005-06 ascension. Like Martin back then, Salmons is getting little attention.

But we know. We are here. We appreciate you, John.

UPDATE: I believe our friend Kelly Dwyer has signed on to the Society.

UPDATE #2: Pre-emptive membership for Empty the Bench.