Dirk: Kevin Durant 'way ahead of my curve'

June, 12, 2012
6/12/12
1:27
PM CT
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The premise presented to the 7-footer who shoots it better than any other 7-footer ever has is that no one else on the NBA map could possibly have a better grasp of how it feels to be Kevin Durant these days.

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Who better to size up the long-limbed bomber lighting up the 2012 playoffs than the greatest singular (and similarly built) force of the 2011 postseason?

Dirk Nowitzki listened to that suggestion and just laughed.

For all that these lanky Southwest scoring machines purportedly have in common, given their size and the mere three-hour drive that separates Dallas and Oklahoma City, Nowitzki knows the truth and isn't afraid to say it out loud.

"KD," Nowitzki says, "is way ahead of my curve."

Since the defending champs were broomed out of the first round by Durant's rolling Thunder, exiting the playoffs faster than any other team, Nowitzki admits that he hasn't missed a dribble of Oklahoma City's ride to its first NBA Finals, except for the time bad weather knocked out his satellite during OKC's Game 6 clincher over San Antonio. When the Thunder are on -- avenging a 2010 first-round exit to Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers in a mere five games or letting the shell-shocked Spurs run their winning streak to an eye-popping 20 before sticking them with four straight L's -- Dirk doesn't leave the couch.

He wants to track precisely how much higher Durant is nudging the bar for supersized shooters that Bob McAdoo set and Larry Bird raised.

"He's arguably the best player in the league right now," Nowitzki told ESPN.com over the weekend. "I see a guy that really has no holes."

Read the full column here.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 4.6 1.7 34.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 8.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.8
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4