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72 reason to be excited about the Atlanta Hawks: #36, the Josh Smith Alley Oop

It's always a thing of beauty when Josh Smith goes up for the alley oop.  And if he can get to the basket, it's nearly indefensible since he can jump higher than 99% of the players in the NBA.  It's so high probability that the Hawks run a play at the opening tip where Smith tips it to JJ, followed by a pass to Bibby, and an immediate alley-oop to Josh.  It's the perfect statement to make when opening a game.

What is so special about the alley-oop?  It allows you to showcase the ridiculous athleticism of one player, who is asked to cut to the basket, catch the ball in mid air and slam it home in the same motion, which gives us the star appeal.  But its success is also predicated in timing and communication between the passer and the scorer.  It manages to be simultaneously a great team play and a great individual play.

If you're a Hawks fan, these plays are probably a big part of the reason you watch the games.  Seeing them out of context in highlights is awesome.  Watching them as they happen (or even live from the arena) is almost overwhelming.

See here for evidence:


And this is especially relevant to the Hawks because Josh Smith is as good as anyone in the NBA at finishing the alley-oop.  Not only can sky as high as anyone, he has a great feel for the area around the basket and his timing is extremely good.  And he's forced to use two hands, which prevents some of the issues he has with losing the ball on his one-handed attempts.  His range, quickness, and leaping ability can actually turn bad passes into great ones.

After the jump, a completely awesome, gratuitous, Josh Smith alley-oop highlight film I found.  Enjoy.