On a new TrueHoop TV, David Thorpe talks about a “new” move he’s noticed from Kevin Durant. This one. Basically, it’s simple as Durant jumping off his right foot and finishing at the rim with his left hand. With a dunk.
Thorpe asks if it’s truly new, or if it’s something he’s been doing in the past. As someone that’s watched KD pretty closely the past five years, I can’t really remember him ever going lefty at the rim like that before.
Especially with any regularity. Just in the past week, Durant has gone from maybe never doing it, to doing it twice (he did it again against the Wizards). Coincidence, or is it a something new Durant has added to his game? Considering the fact that KD is always working to add things to his game, always trying to improve, always trying find a way to be better at the details, I’d suspect it’s an intentional evolution.
It’s kind of an interesting phenomenon in basketball that players don’t often dunk with their off hand. Because as Thorpe describes it, it’s hard. Not just to get that other hand to do something, but maybe the most challenging part is getting the needed elevation off your off foot. Typically, when KD throws down a huge dunk, he’s leaping off his left foot. So that’s not just gym work. That’s weight room and conditioning work.
The other thing: Durant’s left hand has come a long, long way the past few years. He finishes with his off hand quite a bit now around the rim. But I remember in 2009 when KD won his first HORSE title, he couldn’t finish a simple, uncontested lefty layup. If I remember right, Joe Johnson actually tried to zero in on forcing KD to use his left hand because it was an obvious weakness.
Now? Not so much.
Like Thorpe said, a lot of it has to do with building a confidence and comfort in that off hand. You know you’re good with the right, but using the left has to become as instinctive and natural. KD was born with a talented right hand. He had to develop the left.
Thorpe says it better:
“When you’re already a top two player in the world, and most people would say the best pure scorer on the planet, one of the best we’ve ever seen in the NBA in its illustrious history, and you’re still pushing your boundaries, you’re still kind of finding ways to impact the game. And let’s not shortchange this: and to get yourself excited.
“Durant, when he dunked against Philadelphia, he hurt himself a little bit, but I think part of it was mentally, just, ‘Oh my god, did I just do that?’ And that’s exciting. That gets you excited to go back to practice each day and to play in games. Who knows what’s coming next. He really is must-watch TV, not just for what he’s always done, but what he might do going forward that we’ve never seen before.”
Same could almost be said for fans. There’s a certain level of anticipation around every Thunder game, not just because they’re good, but because who knows what special thing you might get to see. Between Russell Westbrook and KD, something good that you’ve never seen before might happen.