Nowitzki or Durant?

It’s an interesting comparison, they’re both playing some of the best  basketball of their careers. Dirk at 32, Durant at 22. Both have strengths and flaws. Who would I take to have on my team? Let’s see.

Strengths are still developing for this young superstar. He has aspects of his game that are unbelievable. Such as his shooting. His unorthodox release is as effective as any shot in the NBA. His quick flick of the wrist, the perfect rotation through the air and the beautiful swish through the net. From any where on the court. Off the dribble and from a pass. His three point shot has evolved every year in the NBA. This year it was as good as it has been his whole career. He drains shots from there like it’s a daily routine. He can come off curls and pop the shot. Come of V-cuts and pop it. He can take one dribble and pop it right over the defenders head. He can pretty much pop the J whenever he wants to. Then there is his shot off the dribble. He takes one powerful gather dribble and a mix between a floater and a smooth jumper. It goes in every time though so who really cares. Then his maturity and leadership. He’s a modest age of 22 and is more modest than any superstar i’ve ever watched. He’s always crediting teammates for their success and always calling himself out whenever he deserves it. He’s living the dream in the NBA and nothing can stop him from enjoying it. Every time he steps on that floor it looks like he’s a boy in a candy shop. His passing skills are underrated as well. He is one of the best passers on the fast break in the league. Whether it’s a baseball pass down the length of the court or if it’s a sneaky dish inside for a teammate to dunk it in.

His flaws are noticeable. At a young age like his it’s normal for an NBA player to have weak aspects of his game. One is being soft. He is not aggressive enough for his team to win a championship. That’s my bold statement. It may be how he was raised or how modest he is but he has to get mad and charge at the basket. Something good happens every time he goes to the hoop. He goes to the line or finishes with a dunk. He’s a 7 foot small forward with hops like a pogo stick. He has to be aggressive. Then he has to be able to pass off to teammates when he’s penetrating the inside. Kevin Durant being the superstar that he is, attracts a lot of attention from the defense. When he drives from the left or right side the big men will come out to get him which leaves players wide open in the corners for three pointers. He has to learn to look for them even while he’s driving in. Look up KD! It’s frustrating to watch these wide open players not get the ball because their superstar can’t find them. Another flaw is his inability to be effective in other ways when he’s struggling. Just like Derrick Rose he has trouble flushing his mistakes because their so modest. They take some time to swirl around in his mind before being flushed. In that period of time, Kevin has to do other things besides scoring to help his team win. Don’t be idle on the court. He should be setting screens or making distracting cuts, not running into a wall again and again.

Then there is the 7 foot German they call Dirk Nowitzki. Ya, I know you’ve heard of him.

Strengths are very strong with Dirk. If you haven’t noticed his jumpshot is the most unstoppable shot since Kareem Abdul Jabar’s sky hook. It’s actually unstoppable though. Sure he may miss it once every 10 attempts but that’s not stopping it that’s missing it. He holds the ball so far above his 7 foot head that’s it’s physically unreachable for any human defender to get a hand in front of. Then there is his extreme talent of balance that he maintains while leaning back. He doesn’t wobble but keeps complete stillness while leaning back. Then there is his flexibility to take off of one foot to lift him upwards. It’s my favorite shot in the whole game, it never gets old. After watching him take that shot for 10 years now I still am dumbfounded at how he manages to do it. Another strength is his leadership. If you watch Maverick games he is always shouting things out. Usually directing the defense, calling out screens or cutters. He is the voice of the Mavs defense and he is always there to remind the Mavericks of their goal and what they have to do to reach it. Then their is his amazing IQ for the game. He is so smart at reading the defense when he is in the post. He can tell where the perimeter players are. He can tell how the post player is going to defend him. He can anticipate where his teammates are going to cut to. He is also a master at getting fouled on the shot. When defenders guard Nowitzki, they’re always on their heels. How can they tell what’s going to happen, is he going to drive in, will he take the unstoppable jump shot? If he fakes the shot, the defenders jump right up because they’re scared he’s going to take it. Then he adjusts takes the contact and flips up a shot to get fouled. After Jamal Crawford he is the best at 4 point plays.

Then there are his flaws. He doesn’t use his size enough for a 7 footer. I understand completely that his game is primarily on the three point line and from mid range but he is a 7 footer. He should try post up more and bully his way inside. He hasn’t done this his whole career. He may want to start now if he wants a championship. He’d be unstoppable if he used his size and strength to get closer to the basket. It would also spread the defense out more because they wouldn’t know if he was going to step back for a jump-shot or post up for an easy layup. His other flaw is that he’s ringless. He’s played 11 years and he still has no ring. He’s one time MVP and 1st ballot future hall of famer but he’s ringless. He needs the elite status of a ring to really ink his name in peoples minds as one of the best power forwards ever. I hope he can succeed in the finals if he gets there.

I would take Nowitzki. His size, leadership, jump shot, and IQ for the game make him invaluable to have on a team.

2 thoughts on “Nowitzki or Durant?

  1. I completely agree that Dirk is the better player. I believe he is easily a top 20 player of all time, even without a ring. The things he can do on the court, especially for his size, make him a revolutionary player. I believe 15 years down the road, we will look back and make the argument that he changed the role of big men in the league, the same way Jordan changed the game by bringing it “above the rim”. And I also hope he gets a ring this year! (especially by beating the Miami Heat!!!)

    However, if I was creating a team now, I would most likely take Durant. He is still incredibly young and has already showed his ability to dominate the basket. (Hard to believe he leads the NBA in scoring!) I also believe he is still maturing and will be considered a better NBA player than Nowitzki, once he retires. The weaknesses in his game, I believe, will be less noticeable once he matures and works to fix his weakness, much in the same way Nowitzki has. (Not to mention great players have done this throughout the history of the game. Both Magic Johnson and Jordan adding a jump shot and a post game after they were criticized as not having those in their arsenal)

    If I wanted to win next year, its Dirk. To start a ‘dynasty’, Durant

    • You’re correct. Dirk is easily a top 20 player of all time. I am quite surprised that in most analysts’ minds, until these playoffs, Dirk wasn’t in the conversation for top 20 all time. He’s been underrated his entire career and I truly hope he can bring Dallas back a ring this year, he really deserves it. I totally agree that he really has changed the power forward position. After Kareem retired I don’t think anybody thought they would ever see a shot as unstoppable and difficult in the NBA. Especially from a 7 footer. I disagree that Durant will be remembered as a better player overall when it’s all said and done. Durant is an unbelievable scorer. He is one of the best I have ever seen at his age. I just don’t think he’s too different from many other scorers. He’s getting so much praise because he is so talented offensively at such a young age. When his game is developed he’ll be like many other scorers. Dirk changed the power forward position, Durant won’t.

      As I read over my post now I too agree that I would rather start a dynasty with a young budding superstar like Durant.

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