OKC Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant still trying to perfect Dirk Nowitzki fadeaway

by Anthony Slater Published: November 7, 2013

Dirk Nowitzki made his NBA debut in 1998. Kevin Durant was 10.

Nowitzki was an established NBA All-Star by 2001. Durant was 13.

“Sorry, I'm making Dirk seem a little bit old,” Durant joked. “But that's when I started really focusing on Dirk and when he became one of my favorite players ever to play this game.”

But it wasn't just an admiration Durant developed for the Mavericks star. It was a partial blueprint for his eventual game, with both sharing rare height and shooting ability.

The most obvious thing KD took: Dirk's patented one-legged fadeaway.

It's a move Nowitzki has long perfected, while Durant's remains a constant work in progress.

“It was rougher than I thought it was going to be (early on),” Durant said. “Took me some time to figure it out, but I think I'm doing all right with it.”

At this point, with such a diverse offensive toolbox, it's a move Durant doesn't typically use more than once every game.

But it's clearly one of his favorites.

“Just the space it gives you and how it looks,” Durant said. “It just frees you up when you're kinda pressured. You don't think you have a shot, then you just step back and knock it down.”

CARLISLE STILL VIEWS THE THUNDER AS A CONTENDER

Across the NBA, mixed feelings remain regarding the Thunder's title chances this season.

But Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he still views the Thunder as dangerous a team as ever, in both the present and future.

“This team is in it for the long haul,” Carlisle said. “There's no doubt about it.”

Particularly, Carlisle pointed to OKC's consistent ability to groom young talent. 

“They got Westbrook back now, and there's no doubt he'll regain his form quickly,” he said. “Their challenge is going to be to keep integrating younger guys, which they've done a great job with (Reggie) Jackson and now (Jeremy) Lamb is doing great things.”


by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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