Ranking the Best Alley-Oop Dunks of the 2012-13 NBA Season Thus Far
They're often point guard-induced, and they're Blake Griffin-approved. They combine both the art of accuracy and the inherent athleticism currently running rampant in the NBA. They're still only worth two points, but you can't put a tangible value on most of them.
I'm referring, of course, to "alley-oop" dunks.
Today's Association is littered with athletic monsters and unselfish minions who have helped redefine how that round ball is put through that equally round hoop.
Don't fall into the trap of believing they're like any other old rim-rocking display either. They can be done alone (just ask Danilo Gallinari, among others), but just as it takes two to tango, it usually takes two to alley that oop.
As the game has evolved and modernized (and as Chris Paul founded Lob City), the NBA has become host to a deluge of alley-oops.
Judging by the frequency with which they're employed today, it's a gracious host at that.
10. Amir Misses Jose
Rudy Gay is the star the Toronto Raptors so desperately wanted, but you know they still mourn the loss of Jose Calderon.
Amir Johnson does, at least.
Running out of room as he approached the baseline, Calderon lobbed it up near the lane, and Johnson finished with a fierce two-handed slam. That this just beat the third-quarter buzzer made it all the more impressive.
Who does buzzer-beater alley-oops anymore?
If that's not enough, look at how far Johnson brings his arms back. The ball definitely hit his head.
Color us impressed.
9. Age Facilitates Youth
You know who else tosses buzzer-beating alley-oops? Kobe Bryant.
With just 0.4 seconds left in the half, Bryant inbounded the ball for Earl Clark. And by "inbounded," I of course mean hurled a near half-court pass.
Clark's finish was impressive. Bryant's eye fake and subsequent pass were even more so. And the smirk he had on his face as he high-fived his teammates was priceless.
These passes are tough to throw, but Bryant made it look easy.
Credit a porous Detroit Pistons defense for making it possible.
8. The No-Look Alley-Oop
Watch closely here, because you only have five seconds.
We've seen no-look passes before (Steve Nash has made a career out of them), but it's not every day you see a no-look dunk.
Here, JaVale McGee catches a pass from Ty Lawson and throws it down with one hand, without looking.
McGee's approach here was crazy. JaVale McGee crazy.
I'm not sure how George Karl feels about him purposely impeding his own vision when attempting to score, especially in a tightly contested game like this, but hey, it all worked out.
This time, anyway.
7. Matt Barnes Goes All CP3
Lob City even looks good on Matt Barnes.
With the Clippers staving off a late run by the Pistons, Barnes caromed the ball off the glass into Blake Griffin's waiting arms.
Or rather, arm. Griffin slammed it home with one hand, backward leg kick and all.
Perhaps most impressive is the wind-up Griffin got on this one, almost as if to scratch his back before finishing off the play.
That works for me. Probably not so much for the Pistons, though.
6. LeBron's Towering Slam
Following Joel Anthony's illustrious swat, Cole ran out in tradition and left it up to LeBron to finish the play off in style.
Just look at the height James gets here. He catches the ball with just one hand and throws it down. In other words, you could have tied one hand behind his back, and this still would have worked.
We'll just go ahead and file this one under awesome.
5. The Double Alley-Oop
Yes, this one counts.
Selflessness creates much of the Miami Heat's success, and it doesn't get more unselfish than what we see here.
Both Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade passed up opportunities to score, allowing LeBron James to come up with the thunderous finish.
You have to love Wade's one-timer-like pass—the ball barely touched his fingertips.
I am left wondering if they rehearsed this, though. The way James stuck with the play by going airborne when Wade already was, this looks like it was drawn up.
I'm not complaining. If it was choreographed, I'm simply requesting more.
4. Iggy to Faried at the Expense of D12
The Los Angeles Lakers currently have a half-game lead over the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot—no thanks to Andre Iguodala and Kenneth Faried.
Or Dwight Howard, for that matter.
Iggy has always been known for his passing skills, but he threaded the alley-needle when he lobbed a pass just outside of Howard's reach. Faried somehow caught it (taking it away from Howard?) and flushed it home with one hand.
How good was this?
Iguodala thumped Faried's chest, and the latter's hair flailed around more than usual on his way back down the court.
Yeah, that kind of good.
3. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Get Their Fred Flintstone On
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combine for so many highlight reels that I'm beginning to understand why the Chosen One doesn't need to participate in the dunk contest.
When every game is like his own personal dunk contest, why do another one? This one was better than most, if not all, of this year's dunk contest completions.
The way LeBron and Wade ran (trotted?) up the floor, you just knew it was coming. We were in store for a normal, run-of-the-mill, Wade-to-James alley-oop.
Except there was nothing "normal" about this.
LeBron got some serious height, caught the ball with two hands and threw it down backwards.
I'm not quite sure what the announcer means by a "yabba-dabba-doo" moment, but he was so excited and genuinely convinced he was right when he said it, we can't help but concur.
Yabba-dabba-doo your heart out.
2. Jamal Crawford Gets His Lob City on
Jamal Crawford is no longer new to Lob City.
As Crawford is a guard who can pass in the Clippers lineup, we awaited one of those inaugural lobs that brought everyone to their feet.
Nearly three-quarters of the way through the season, we got it.
Crawford tossed a between-the-legs lob in transition to Blake Griffin, who capped off the alley-oop windmill style. It was just incredible—and spontaneous, which made it even more incredible.
Unless, you know, you were on the wrong end of that one.
1. DeAndre Jordan Delivers the Proverbial Kill of Brandon Knight
You know you're a near lock to win Dunk of the Year when people update your Wikipedia page to reflect said dunk.
In a not-so-closely contested battle between the Clippers and Pistons, DeAndre Jordan added insult to injury with this ferocious one-handed monster of a jam.
Chris Paul tossed a nice pass in the lane for Jordan, who extended back, grabbed it and finished what is, as of right now, not just the alley-oop of the year, but the dunk of the year.
Fans cheered, kids paraded and Blake Griffin had to be restrained by head coach Vinny Del Negro. This one had it all.
And then some.
Though we all have nothing but the utmost of trust in Wikipedia (kidding), as far as I know, Brandon Knight was not seriously injured in the making of this here poster.
Unless pride counts. If so, then yeah, he's hurting pretty bad.