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Thursday, December 15, 2011

WEEK 6, DEBATE 4: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Kevin Durant



Who would you rather have this season: Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Durant?

"Dirk, the “I denied the 3 Kings from winning the Finals" Nowitzki, is killing it. Our reigning Finals MVP is coming off a career year where he led the Mavs to a title. Durant is undoubtedly one of the most popular small forwards in the league, but Nowitzki is riDirkulous. Not only is the “The Fadeaway Fuhrer” un-guardable but he is just doing so many things better than Durant at the moment. Some people like to say that after 13 seasons Dirk ain’t getting any better. Well, last season Dirk’s incredible skills and attributes allowed him to fair much better than the younger Durant in so many categories. Let’s see; last year Dirk shot a better FG% (career high 52%), better 3P% (.393), better FT% (.892), more rebounds (7.0) and fewer turnovers (1.9) than Durant. And Dirk only gets better in the Playoffs.

But on top of all that, Dirkules has one more thing that Durantula doesn’t: a post-up game. Those disappointing defeats to the Heat in 2006 and the Warriors in 2007 made Dirk develop a nasty post game. Now Dirk posts up smaller defenders til he is 10 feet from the rim and scores at will. That’s why Dirk is un-guardable; too many arrows in that quiver. Personally, I will need to see Durant get a better post-up game before I can even think of him in the same category with my guy. Yup, I’m gonna stick with Dirk No-miss-ki. It has a nice ring to it."

"Kevin Durant is that guy. The Phenom. There are really no words to describe the impact Durant’s made on the NBA. In just four years he’s turned a young, small-market Thunder franchise into a top-tier contender and become the league’s greatest scoring threat, winning two scoring titles. It’s unheard of. Durant is the perfect hybrid of aggression, grace and athleticism, and the versatility of his arsenal makes him a truly unique threat. His Durantula wingspan for one allows him to shoot from the most impossible angles. His three-point shooting, mid-range jumper, running floater… are all imperious.

But what separates Durant from all shooters, like Dirk, is his explosiveness… just ask Brendan Haywood. It is this range of danger that makes KD a scoring nightmare that’s probably never been witnessed before. He attacks the rim with the very best of them, but when he gets to the line he doesn’t shoot in the 70s but at nearly 90%. So not only does this make Durant a two-point threat anytime he touches the ball, but it puts opposing teams in the precarious position of having to give a dead-eye shooter space in order to avoid fouls. So who do I choose? Well, Hollinger stats never lie, and in terms of scoring Durant’s on a road only ever treaded by Michael Jordan. It’s only a matter of time til the stars align and Durant too wins a Championship, the only grounds you have to say Dirk’s ‘superior’ to him."

“The stars have already aligned. Were you hibernating all of last year? You didn’t see Dirk dominate whomever he was playing? His biggest downfall was choking in the 4th quarter, a la Lebron James, and like I explained he did something about that. And now Dirk scores more efficiently cause he can work closer to the basket. Durant lacks the physical strength to dominate anything in the paint. He plays a very physical game, which he could get away with in college, but this is the big leagues now. Durant may lead the league in scoring, and will get his rebounds, but when it comes down to the everyday grind of the NBA, especially this season with more back-to-back games than any other, Durant is going to take a beating.

Durant still lacks the mental capacity to make smart decisions on the court, taking untimely shots. That’s not good basketball, that’s just trying to throw up as many shots as possible, and if I shoot 40% I will score a lot of points. Durant’s junior year in the NBA, he threw up 1668 FGs, good for 1st in the NBA. Last year, he was 4th. In that same year he was 1st in FGA, he was also averaging 3 turnovers a game. You say a shot-heavy guy on an average team is better than the guy who leads his team to a Championship with an unstoppable shot? I’ll take the German. He knows the Ring is the Thing."

“You’re missing the picture with Durantula. This is the big leagues? Yes, and Durant’s been its greatest scorer for two straight seasons despite playing for what you consider an ‘average team.’ He isn’t durable? KD ranked fifth in minutes in 2010-2011 while Dirk wasn’t even in the top 40. Durant throws up Hail-Mary’s? In every season Jordan won the scoring title he shot at least 1 795 field goals. Durant’s averaged 1 603 in winning his two. Breaking it down further, MJ averaged 1.31 points-per-shot whereas Durant is averaging 1.36. Durant can’t dominate anything in the paint? Well, he’s finishing at an incredible rate of over 77% FG at the rim. Above all, its Durant’s willingness to work hard and improve that sets him apart. His vision, passing and rebounding have improved since his debut and this off-season he’s been tirelessly working on adding that muscle. Those turnovers? In 2010’s first-round Playoff series against the Lakers Durant committed 3.67 turnovers a game; this year’s opening round it was down to 1.4.

But the player Durant is was epitomised at the World Championships where he was sensational, leading Team USA to its first title since 1994. Durant was the definition of a leader and over Team USA’s final three games scored 99 points, at 35-for-61 shooting (57%), with 15 three-pointers. And this guy’s just 23! With all due respect to 33-year-old Dirk, going into this season and (beyond), I take the man who’ll shape the NBA for years to come."

Who won this debate? Go to the right sidebar to cast your vote!


  1. Where do you guys think Dirk ranks among the all-time great power forwards? Based on his career accomplishments, is he greater than Duncan, Malone, Garnett, or Barkley? Or is he a level below those guys?

  2. The dude's like 2 or 3. Ahead of Barkley and dare I say ahead of Garnett?

  3. Dirk is not even in my top 5, he is lower than those guys, maybe even lower than Kevin McHale
    ^Larry is whack, how the heck is Dirk ahead of Barkley and Garnett? Do you know the game? Jesus, people these days