Dirk: Kevin Durant is “arguably the best player in the league”

By Quixem Ramirez

May 3, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) dunks the ball over Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the second half of game three in the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Center. The Thunder defeated the Mavericks 95-79. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Dirk Nowitzki has been in a charitable mood lately. First, he picks the Spurs to oust the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. Now he’s praising Kevin Durant, whose team eliminated the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. I guess winning a championship softens your heart.

“KD,” Nowitzki said, “is way ahead of my curve. He’s arguably the best player in the league right now. I see a guy that really has no holes.

“He’s a 6-10 guy with a 7-4 wingspan who can shoot it from the parking lot. He’s posting up now. In transition he’s so long that, when he gets a pass from the 3-point line, it’s a layup or dunk with one step. He’s got the one- or two-dribble pull-up, which you need to be a great scorer, because you can’t just shoot 3s or go to the basket if you want to be a great scorer, ’cause sometimes you can’t get all the way to the bucket. He can go both ways, one or two dribbles and up.

“He’s way more of a 3-man than I ever was. He handles the ball way better on the break than I ever did. He’s got deeper range. And he’s doing all this at 23. He’s won the scoring title three times in a row, so that he means he won the first one at 21. I barely got through my rookie year. When I was 21, Gary Trent was still killing me in practice.”

Via Marc Stein of ESPN.com