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Kevin Durant improving his game by studying techniques of Dirk Nowitzki

Apr 12, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki have very different games. But there are enough physical similarities that Durant sees the benefits in learning from a 16-year veteran who’s won a league MVP and a title, and is almost certainly locked up Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Durant has more speed and agility than perhaps Nowitzki ever did, while Dirk is a master at using his size to his scoring advantage.

They’re the only two seven-footers in history with the ability to shoot so proficiently from the outside, which makes Durant’s decision to study Nowitzki not that much of a surprise.

From Marc Stein of

It hasn’t been discussed much, because Durant doesn’t often reveal much beyond what we can all see out on the floor, but he recently confessed that he’s been swiping liberally all season from the Dirk Nowitzki playbook.

Turns out that, since November, Durant has been working with Adam Harrington as his personal trainer beyond his daily duties with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Which is the same Adam Harrington who briefly played alongside Nowitzki with the Dallas Mavericks more than a decade ago and has been studying the unorthodox coaching techniques hatched by Nowitzki’s longtime mentor and shot doctor from back home, Holger Geschwindner, ever since.

“It’s a lot more than just trying to copy the one-legger,” Durant said, explaining that he’s not merely focused on trying to mimic Nowitzki’s signature shot.

“Dirk’s got a lot of moves I’m trying to steal.”

Durant also says in the piece that Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant are tied for the honor of being his favorite player in the league.

The greatest players in the game of course have an undeniable genetic advantage, but the ones who truly rise to the top also work at it tirelessly. Durant putting in extra sessions with a coach trained by Nowitzki’s famed shot doctor is a great example of that, as he wraps up what most believe will be his first MVP season.

  1. antistratfordian - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    He’s also stolen Nowitzki’s plethora of offensive flop moves.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:49 AM

      Durant has a long way to go to match Dirk’s flopping prowess. And I honestly mean that as a compliment to Dirk; he is the master of subtle flops. Harden is probably his #1 student at the moment but Harden makes it way too obvious.

  2. cantonb0und13 - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Durant flops hard… He shot over 200 more free throws then LeBron. LeBron should get his 5th MVP, but the voters are tired of voting for the G.O.A.T. (LeBron).

    • pharohislife - Apr 13, 2014 at 1:09 PM


  3. savvybynature - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    I know we are in a small-ball era, but that doesn’t make 6′ 09″ Kevin Durant a 7-footer.
    I know people have been exaggerating height in the league forever, but c’mon, that’s not even close.

    • davidly - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      They both got their moves from Skibby MaRue — who was 8’13”.
      True story.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 13, 2014 at 1:10 AM

      @ savvy

      About time someone addressed that, It’s been getting ridiculous.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 13, 2014 at 7:14 AM

      LeBron is listed at 6’8″, and Durant is listed at 6’9″, but if you ever see them side by side, Durant looks more than 1 inch taller. A lot of people think that Durant kept growing after entering the NBA as a 19 year old and is closer to 6’11” than 6’9″ now.

      I don’t like calling guys 7-footers unless they’re *at least* 7-feet tall, so I wouldn’t call Durant a 7-footer because then you have to call 6’10” and 6’11” power forwards like Chris Bosh and Kevin Love 7-footers too.

      But I do think Durant is pretty close to 7-feet tall.

      • phillieseaglessixersflyers - Apr 13, 2014 at 8:02 AM

        KD was 6’9″ without shoes and 6’10” and 1/4 with shoes at the 2007 Predraft Workout. He was still 18 or 19 at the time so its not out of the question that he couldve grown an inch or two since then.

      • rodyaugu - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Durant is legit 6’10 like Bosh

      • jayhit - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        The difference a inch makes… lol

  4. adoombray - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    Two best fadeaways in basketball except for maybe the Mamba…

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      cept the Mamba’s clanks iron way more than 50% of the time…

      pretty as it may be, it doesn’t go in nearly as much as Dirk’s and Durant’s…

      let’s not even begin to discuss three point shooting at the Mamba has been fangless there since he came into the league…

  5. yomarianob - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    AND, Dirk was able to win the Larry O’Brien against the Heat, as to date he’s the only one that could (well, all that Mavs team), so it’s completely reasonable that Dirk is the model for Durant, since that’s his only goal, to beat the Heat

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      What? Not likely anymore I realize, but what if the Thunder meet the Pacers in the Finals?

      Durant would have no goal according to you since his ONLY goal is to beat the Heat…

      I’m afraid Durant has many goals, to improve, to win championships etc…

      A real basketball fan would know that Duran’ts ONLY goal is just not to beat the Heat…

      • yomarianob - Apr 13, 2014 at 7:19 PM

        Ok, man, easy..

        Maybe not his ONLY goal, but his major goal

  6. pharohislife - Apr 12, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Kevin Love said the same earlier this season, that he is studying and trying to emulate the moves of Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce.

    • rodyaugu - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      Love needs to emulate KG and Kevin Mchale

  7. slate91 - Apr 12, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Reblogged this on The Daily Slate and commented:
    yea that step back one foot jumper lethal~!

  8. elcapitanfiscal - Apr 13, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    Cant imagine how good Durant will be in his prime.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Apr 13, 2014 at 5:53 AM

      His prime started this season, my friend. His passing and dribbling skills have finally improved to the point that he’s making his teammates better. From now on a healthy Durant means 55+ wins no matter who’s around him, just like LeBron when he turned 25.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      When we look back on Durant’s career, THIS season will be the first season of what we call his peak.

      It’s his first season with a PER above 30 and he’ll win the MVP too.

      His peak will be his age 25 season through however long he’s able to remain here.

      Yes, I think he may still improve, don’t get me wrong, but THIS season will be a part of his so called peak yrs.

      MJ’s peak years were his age 24 to 27 seasons. Those 4 seasons were his most dominant. Jordan has the highest career PER of anyone to play the game. Those 4 seasons were Jordan’s ONLY 4 seasons he had a PER above 30. Those 4 seasons were Jordan’s ONLY 4 seasons he had a true shooting percentage over .600%

      Jordan did amazing things on the court long after his age 27 season, but he dominated between his age 24 to 27 seasons unlike he did his other seasons.

      Of course only the first of Jordan’s 6 NBA championships came during this time frame though.

      There is an outside chance that Durant’s peak began last season too… but that can’t be determined until his career is nearly over.

      His stats will let us know when it’s all said and done…

  9. jadaruler - Apr 13, 2014 at 4:10 AM

    Not really a surprise. If you watch the interview where he’s doing a pre-draft visit to Portland, he talks about Dirk in that as well.

    I’m glad some of the younger guy appreciate Dirk, he’s one of a kind.

  10. onlyavoice - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    KD is nothing but a modern day Melo.

  11. routerunner - Apr 14, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Game recognize game.

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