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Kevin Durant is ready. After seven seasons in the NBA we are yet to even see the reigning MVP at his prime. However, youth hasn't held back Durant in his career; KD already has a rookie of the year trophy, five First Team All-NBA selections, three scoring titles, two gold medals, an All-Star Game MVP and a MVP trophy hanging in his mantle—or wherever he decided to keep his awards. In honor of his 26th birthday we're going to celebrate Durant by looking at his five most unstoppable moves.
No. 5 - The Pull-Up Three
Kevin Durant is an anomaly, he's 6'11", can handle the ball like a guard, has the wingspan of a center and one of the purest jump shots in all of basketball. The NBA has never before seen a player with his combination of size and skill. All of this makes any simple move that Durant does even harder to guard. Many players are able to utilize the pull-up in their game, any great shooter should. For Durant, he is able to dribble to the three-point arc and as soon as he feels his defender back too far away he simply rises over his defender as he pleases for a good look.
No. 4 - The One-Foot Jumper
In today's age of YouTube and advanced statistics players now have more information at their disposal than ever before. Which is why it's no surprise that several players have incorporated Dirk Nowitzki's patented move into their arsenals. No player has been able to use it more successfully than KD and he has put his own additional twists into the move. Like Dirk, Durant is able to combine his shooting ability with his size and once the ball is out of his hands all the defense can do is hope that the shot misses.
No. 3 - The Crossover
Kevin Durant's greatest advantage is that he's the height of most power forwards, but he plays like a guard. Now the fact that he's built like a beanpole probably helped keep him from playing down low much growing up. In the long run it was better for his career. His length allows him to pinball the basketball between both hands. Durant is able to hesitate just long enough that the defender believes KD is going one way before he quickly crosses to the other direction. Nine times out of ten the defender is usually left to watch KD sink a silky jumper or throw the hammer down on the head of the rotating big man.
No. 2 - The Dunk
Though most casual fans don't consider dunking a move, unless Vince Carter, Blake Griffin, Zach LaVine, LeBron James, and Andrew Wiggins do it, Kevin has been able to finish strong in the paint during his career. Durant will not win a dunk contest (it's also unlikely that he would ever enter one) since he doesn't do many acrobatic twists and turns while in the air, yet he still has his fair share of posters. His slight frame may make defenders think they’ll be able to stop Durant, but he is wiry strong and his lankiness allows him to extend over most players as he slams the rock home. Just ask Alex Len, Andrew Bynum, Jonas Valanciunas, Marcin Gortat and Brendan Haywood if they regret trying to deny KD at the rim.
No. 1 - The Rip Through
If the NBA makes a rule that prevents a player from using a move that means one thing: it's lethal. Allen Iverson brought palming back, George Mikan caused the creation of three seconds, Wilt Chamberlain got offensive interference worked into the rule book, Charles Barkley and Mark Jackson are the reason for the five second back to the basket call, and Reggie Miller's leg kicks are now illegal. Most recently the league outlawed a move made famous by KD, the rip through. Durant would wait until the defender's arm was just close enough and then swing his arms into the defender’s to create contact. While the play is still called a foul it no longer is ruled to be a shooting foul. It hasn't bothered KD as he still is amongst the top in the NBA in free throws made and free throws attempted.