Originally Published: April 13, 2014

1. 'Dirk's Got A Lot Of Moves I'm Trying To Steal'

By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

All those gaudy numbers. All those wins without Russell Westbrook. All those tweets and "SportsCenter" graphics telling us, over and over, that Kevin Durant's season has been legitimately Jordanesque.

All of that, when you add it all up, is why the ESPN Forecast panel this week proclaimed Durant to be the runaway favorite to win his first Most Valuable Player award without even bothering to wait for voting to close.

All of that is also why you heard LeBron James, through gritted teeth, essentially concede the MVP crown to his foremost rival the other day.

Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki
AP Photo/Eric GaySeeing similarities between Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki? That's no accident.

It's the only reasonable conclusion to draw with the Durant-led Thunder sporting a record they'd be proud if Westbrook hadn't missed a single game. And with KD on the brink of becoming just the fourth player in history -- this league's first since His Airness himself 25 years ago -- to average at least 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists for an entire season.

With a few key steals quietly mixed in.

These particular swipes haven't been discussed much, because Durant doesn't often reveal much beyond what we can all see out on the floor, but he recently confessed that he's been swiping liberally all season from the Dirk Nowitzki playbook all season.

Turns out that, since November, Durant has been working with Adam Harrington as his personal trainer beyond his daily duties with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Which is the same Adam Harrington who briefly played alongside Nowitzki with the Dallas Mavericks more than a decade ago and has been studying the unorthodox coaching techniques hatched by Nowitzki's longtime mentor and shot doctor from back home, Holger Geschwindner, ever since.

"It's a lot more than just trying to copy the one-legger," Durant said, explaining that he's not merely focused on trying to mimic Nowitzki's signature shot.

"Dirk's got a lot of moves I'm trying to steal."

Practice shots with both hands, off both feet and launched from a variety of stances and spins to improve footwork. Planting the heels and shifting smoothly onto the toes for better balance. Breathing techniques as the ball is released. Keeping the fingers wide, too.

Durant has been dabbling in all those Holger-centric areas of emphasis in his hourly sessions with Harrington, which typically take place in the evenings -- home or road -- whether it's a practice day or after the Thunder fly into a new city on the night before a game.

See the full Stein Line Live blog post

Marc Stein | email

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

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