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Watch the dunk by Dwight Howard in the lead video, but pay attention to the pass that allowed him to dunk it. It was a high-off-the-glass shot/pass from Jameer Nelson that paved the way for Howard to splash the ball down. The play was executed so effectively, it forced some NBA scholars to consider the possibilities, like, for instance, is that the evolution of the alley-oop play, a play made popular — at least to me, anyway — by Sherman Douglas throwing oops to Rony Seikaly and Derrick Coleman when they roamed the Syracuse sidelines?

Can an off-the-glass pass become a staple of NBA offenses, especially when you have a leaper like Dwight Howard on the receiving end? The awesome fellows at Free Darko expound — a great deal, in fact — on this idea:

Exceptions, not a considerable planar extension of time and space. Still, this could work, people, and the more the NBA begins to see the ‘oop as foundational, the more possible this kind of thing becomes. In effect, it becomes the new alley-oops.

Maybe we’re putting the heads ahead of the other heads. But remember, the dunk itself was once thought of as useless tomfoolery. Now, most people would agree that relatively sane dunking is the easiest way to ensure the ball goes through the hoop. The paradox of progress is that imagination is always linked to style, and yet it also provides the seed for innovation that changes the face of function. Think about the way the Suns or Warriors use to alter the dimensions of the court (scrapped book idea: using advanced physics to prove this), all through a mode of play dripping with style. Is a team like the Magic or Hornets this close to another great, sustained breakthrough?

Would Stan Van Jeremy make such a play a regular part of his offensive attack? As long as Howard can out-jump everybody else in the paint, and as long as someone like Nelson is making the pass, I don’t see why not. Consider this option as well: the play does not have to be exclusively done for Howard. If I’m not mistaken, Vince Carter is known as a leaper. Why not include him in these off-the-backboard alley-oop plans? Hell, Rashard Lewis could probably find room to work, or jump, as it were, in that kind of play as well.

It’s not like he’s bound by gravity either.