Fans of the Dallas Mavericks know the greatness of Dirk Nowitzki, but it always seems that he is somewhat overlooked in conversations about all-time greats or stars in the NBA. That’s what makes it so refreshing to hear an up-and-coming young superstar like the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Kevin Durant give respect to the best Maverick that has ever played.
“I steal a lot from Dirk,” Durant said. “He’s not the most athletic guy. But he uses his length and strength to his advantage.” While this fails to mention Dirk’s outrageous shooting touch, it is still nice praise to hear that Durant models some of his game after Dirk.
This isn’t the first time that Durant has mentioned stealing from Dirk. Durant specifically mentioned borrowing Dirk’s patented step-back fadeaway jump-shot he is known for. Durant notes that it’s “kind of tough to block,” since he is so long and holds it above his head, actually making it one of the toughest shots to defend in all of the NBA.
One of the great things about the shot is how it creates shooting space when there was none. Having a move like that in his repertoire could have done wonders for Durant after Russell Westbrook was injured during the playoffs. Without Westbrook, space on the court really tightened for Durant, as the defense really only focused on taking away his game.
Durant clearly hasn’t mastered the shot the way Dirk has, but he is working on it and will most likely continue to utilize it since the two players share a similar body build. Durant is already one of the league’s deadliest shooters and most efficient scorers. If he found a signature shot that he could rely on, like Dirk does with his step-back jumper, Durant could take his game to a scary new level.