There is no doubt, however, that Dirk possesses a superstar’s swagger.
It’s something Dirk developed in the latter half of his career. It’s evident in the way he embraces being the focal point of the offense, no matter who is trying to defend him.
“For this team, I’ve always got to be in attack mode,” Nowitzki said. “It doesn’t really matter who’s on me. This team usually relies on me to score, so really the last couple of years, I’ve been attacking no matter who’s on me.
“That’s the thing about being a go-to guy. It doesn’t really matter who the defense is on you. You’ve got to be able to attack, get to your spots and get your shot up.”
So it doesn’t matter whether it’s Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins, Durant, Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden or anyone else on the Oklahoma City roster. If they’re one-on-one against Dirk, he’ll try to either shoot over them or drive past them. And, as we saw during Game 1, he’ll usually succeed.
Ibaka admitted getting taken to “class” by Dirk, but so did the rest of the Thunder defenders. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Nowitkzi scored 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting against Ibaka and 26 points on 5-of-6 shooting against the rest of the Oklahoma City roster.
Dirk’s attitude definitely isn’t selfish. In fact, he trusts his teammates more now than at any time since Steve Nash departed for the desert. He’s become a good passer out of a double-team over the course of his career.
So the Thunder can get the ball out of Dirk’s hands if they double. But if they don’t, it doesn’t matter who defends him.