With a six-point lead and 90 seconds left against the LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, Kevin Durant got the ball above the free throw line, took one dribble, and shot a fadeaway jumper off one leg while leaning backwards.
It’s the Dirk Nowitzki shot, and it’s just as unguardable for Durant as it is for the guy who invented it:
Dirk invented the shot out of necessity. He has never been quick enough off the dribble to get his own shot, so he came up with a way to use his extraordinary length to create separation between himself and his defender. Because of his height (7’0″) and the angle he creates by leaning back off one foot, the shot is unblockable.
Durant doesn’t need this shot. He’s already the world’s best scorer. But in April ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that he’s trying to steal Dirk’s entire arsenal of moves:
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 called Dirk his favourite player in the league, next to Kobe. There’s a great NBA tradition of young players stealing the moves of their idols. We saw it with Kobe and Jordan, and now we’re seeing it with Durant and Dirk.
Perfect form. He almost kneed Kyrie Irving in the face:
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