Lob City. Lob Angeles. We get it. It’s the all-above-the-rim, all-the-time excitement about the Los Angeles Clippers, driven by consummate point guard Chris Paul and eminent throwdown finishers Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
But the No. 1 alley-oopingest team through Wednesday’s schedule plays on the opposite coast, in a town and building whose basketball traditions have been a lot less gaudy and a lot more fundamental. Back in the day, anyway.
The New York Knicks have the most successful alley-oop dunk plays with 20. Center Tyson Chandler tops all individuals with 12, according to my anonymous stats guru/compiler.
The Clippers and their Staples Center roomies, the Lakers, are tied for second with 18 such plays. Miami (15), Washington (13), Minnesota (12) and Atlanta and Portland (10 each) line up after that.
Individually, the Clippers’ Jordan is second with 11 finishes. Miami’s LeBron James and Washington’s JaVale McGee have 10 each, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Lakers big man Andrew Bynum are next at seven and Griffin is tied with Charlotte’s Byron Mullens with six of them.
For every oop, of course, there has to be an alley. But Paul hasn’t yet cracked the top five among set-up men. The leader at the front end of the highlight play is Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio with 11. The next four are all tied with nine: New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Charlotte’s D.J. Augustin, Toronto’s Jose Calderon and Miami’s Norris Cole.
Speaking of Rubio, the Timberwolves’ rookie also ranks high in a few other “intangibles” categories. He has assisted on 42 3-point field goals, second in the NBA only to New Jersey’s Deron Williams (53). He has drawn eight charges, second to Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins (10). And Rubio and Cousins are tied at 14 for offensive fouls drawn overall.
And for what it’s worth, according to Basketball-Reference.com, there never has been a stats line quite like the one Rubio hung on the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night (thanks to the folks at Wolves’ blog CanisHoopus.com).