If you were given the opportunity to mix and match a variety of NBA players to create alley-oop combinations, who would you choose?
Aside from the exploits of Chris Paul’s “Lob City,” Tyson Chandler’s cuts to the basket and the occasional fast-break, the alley-oop seems to be somewhat of a dying art in the NBA. A major reason for that is enhanced defense, but that doesn’t change the fact that the alley-oop is still the most exciting play in basketball.
When two players are on the same page mentally, setting up a perfectly executed alley-oop is a thing of beauty.
So what are some mix and match combinations we’re dying to see in today’s NBA? Read on to find out.
Make sure to leave your dream alley-oop combinations in the comment section below!
Dwight “Superman” Howard and Nate “Krypto-Nate” Robinson made history by creating a friendly rivalry in the 2009 NBA Slam Dunk contest.
By jumping over the towering center, Robinson went on to win the contest, preventing Howard from going back-to-back.
The pair created a fun narrative during the dunk contest that was incredibly entertaining to watch. Seeing the pair team up during an NBA game via alley-oop would be just as exciting.
The combo could be Robinson setting up Howard for a slam or, perhaps more intriguing, Howard setting up Robinson to be on the receiving end. D12 already helped the two-time dunk champion by allowing Robinson to jump over him, so why not set him up once again in a game setting?
The NBA community already got a nice glimpse of the Ricky Rubio/Kenneth Faried pairing during All-Star weekend. The two showed remarkable chemistry both on the court and on the sidelines.
Aside from their evident talents on the court, Rubio and Faried are two of the NBA’s all-around nice guys. They can usually be seen smiling and genuinely enjoying the game of basketball.
Rubio and Faried are two of the NBA's most exciting and dynamic young players. Faried displays amazing hustle, rebounding and dunking skills, while Rubio is one of the flashiest passers the game has seen in quite some time.
I doubt the NBA community would mind seeing these two guys hook up on alley-oops again in the future.
Vince Carter is one of the greatest dunkers of all time. In fact, one could make the argument that he’s the greatest dunker ever, but that’s a different discussion entirely.
Since Carter is getting up there in age and inching his way toward retirement from the league, watching an alley-oop feed from one of the league’s best historic dunkers to one of the league’s younger guys with phenomenal dunking ability would be a fun sight.
In essence, Carter would be passing the proverbial torch of slam-dunk greatness to one of the best young dunkers in the NBA, Gerald Green.
Green's windmill dunk on the receiving end of an alley-oop feed last year for the Brooklyn (New Jersey) Nets is one of the greatest in-game dunks of all time. Of course, it's not even near the level of Vinsanity's in-game dunk at the Olympics.
I’m hopelessly biased here as a University of Arizona student and fan, but that doesn’t change the fact that Andre Iguodala and Derrick Williams are two of the league’s best dunkers.
Some fans would argue that Iggy got robbed in the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. His dunk from behind the backboard, set up by teammate Allen Iverson (see video), remains one of the most amazing dunks I’ve ever seen to this day.
Ridiculously enough, that dunk managed to overshadow another slam he had in the same competition that was equally insane. Iggy lobbed the ball up to himself, gathered it back off the bounce and went behind the back for the slam. Those two dunks alone should have combined to beat Nate Robinson, whose most impressive dunk was jumping over NBA legend Spud Webb.
These two UA Wildcats would provide for a high-flying display regardless of who was on the receiving end of the pass.
NBA fans will undoubtedly remember the clothesline Raja Bell planted on Kobe Bryant during the 2006 NBA playoffs (see video).
Bell lost his cool and let his emotions get the best of him. He went on to say, “I have no respect for him (Bryant). I think he’s a pompous, arrogant individual,” per ESPN.com.
Despite the “feud” or “rivalry” between these two, both are near the top of the list in terms of toughest competitors the league has ever seen.
In fact, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Bryant and Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni have shown interest in adding Bell to the current roster.
Bryant already tried to recruit Bell to L.A. in 2010, via Mike Breshnahan of the Los Angeles Times, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he still wants Bell as a teammate. A big obstacle that stands in the way of that is money and Bell’s current buyout situation with the Utah Jazz.
If these two guys do end up on the same team, what better way for them to bury the hatchet than by linking up on an alley-oop feed?
John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were college teammates at Kentucky where they had great success together. Now, Wall and Cousins are playing respectable basketball on teams trapped in the cellar of their respective conferences.
Wall was drafted first overall in the 2010 NBA draft, while Cousins was taken fifth overall behind him. Despite playing for teams on opposite sides of the country, Wall and Cousins have a bond like brothers, and Wall says that the two “talk just about every other day, if not every day," according to an article by Carla Peay of The Washington Times.
Even though both players would probably benefit from a change of scenery at this point in their careers, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Wall and Cousins reunited on the same team any time soon.
With that said, they’d still provide for a great alley-oop tandem due to their chemistry both on and off the basketball court.
The current “King” of Cleveland (Kyrie Irving) and the former “King” of Cleveland (LeBron James) are two of the NBA’s most impressive talents.
LBJ is having yet another MVP-caliber year for the Miami Heat, and “Uncle Drew” is building on a Rookie of the Year campaign from a season ago.
Although these two amazing players don't play on the same squad, there have already been rumblings that James may opt out of his contract with the Heat during the summer of 2014 to play alongside Irving in Cleveland.
As Sekou Smith of NBA.com writes (citing articles by Michael Wallace of ESPN, Greg Cote of The Miami Herald and Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida quoting Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl), the conspiracy theory is something to take note of moving forward.
Additionally, James said of Irving during the 2013 NBA All-Star weekend, “He’s already unbelievable in this league, first of all. What he’s doing right now, and what he’s going to do in the future, it’s going to be crazy,” via Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald.
Watching this pairing connect on an alley-oop would be incredible to watch, and if the rumors are any indication, it may actually come to fruition.
Remember to leave your dream alley-oop combos in the comment section below!