Ranking Dirk Nowitzki's 5 Most Dangerous Offensive Moves
At 7'0", Nowitzki has a jump shot that is nearly impossible to defend. He's made big shot after big shot throughout his career, and they've all come with a variety of different moves.
What makes Nowitzki such a threat is that he can utilize a variety of moves that no 7-footer should have to begin with. He can drive the lane with the best of them, and he can shoot with the best of them.
When the game's on the line, Nowitzki can pull a move out of his back pocket and win the game. Here's a look at these most dangerous moves.
The trail is a move that catches teams off guard.
Nowitzki is not known for his speed, but he always runs the court. Whether he sets up for a three or joins in the fast break, it's usually from behind.
In the video above, Nowitzki shows why the trail is so dangerous. Nowitzki is able to catch the ball on the run and drive to the hoop, resulting in the basket and the foul.
Even though Nowitzki is not elusive, running the break from behind gives him an advantage over most big men guarding him. A trailing big man is always dangerous, but being able to finish at the rim is the key.
With such a large body, running the pick-and-roll with Nowitzki makes scoring easy.
Normally, a 7-footer setting a screen way up top rolls straight to the basket, as you'll see above. But what allows Nowitzki to do this is the caution defenders have toward him stepping out to shoot a jumper.
If you play Nowitzki for the roll to the hoop, he can step back and drain the shot. If you play Nowitzki for the shot, he'll go right to the rim.
Nowitzki's ability to stretch the court just adds to why he's so dangerous.
One of the defining moments in Nowitzki's career was his game-winner against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals.
With his left hand. Nowitzki drove past Chris Bosh for a left-handed layup in the final seconds. What people tend to forget about this play was that Nowitzki had a finger on his left hand in a splint.
Before the game, ESPN analyst Tim Legler commented on ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" about the importance of Nowitzki's left hand being injured. Legler was quoted by Andy Hutchins of SB Nation in a June 2011 article as saying:
"He loves to go left, swing through and go that way for either a step back jumper or to try to get to the rim to finish with that left hand. Both of those things are going to be affected by his inability to squeeze that basketball and get a firm grip on it."
Luckily for Mavs fans, Nowitzki's injury had no effect on his performance. He's right-handed, so the ability to drive to the other side and finish is dangerous. He pulled this left-handed layup from his repertoire of moves and won the game.
The spin move is dangerous because when Nowitzki uses it, it's a sign that he's on.
Nowitzki usually doesn't miss coming out of a spin. When he dunks, it's game over; he's at the top of his game.
The spin is a touchy-feel move that Nowitzki sometimes mixes up with others. You go watch Nowitzki to see him use the spin move because you know he will be at his best.
In the video above, Nowitzki scored 26 points in the 2011 Western Conference Finals Game 5 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He also finished with a dunk, something Nowitzki rarely does. Serge Ibaka, the defender, had no idea what hit him.
The finish that Nowitzki made a living on: the one-legged fadeaway.
What makes this move so dangerous is that he's able to create space to protect the ball in his shot. When Nowitzki fades away with his opposite foot, his knee goes into the air, separating the space between him and the defender.
The one-legged fadeaway was ranked the fourth-most unstoppable move in the NBA by B/R's featured columnist Andy Bailey. In the June 2011 article, Bailey commented on the greatness of the move.
Imagine trying to defend a player who's over seven feet tall, releasing the ball from well over his head while falling away.
The fact that it goes in helps. Dirk may have the greatest mid-range shot of all time.
A 7-footer who can step back and shoot off of one leg. The move is just unstoppable.