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2012 NBA Finals: Dirk Nowitzki Praises Kevin Durant As 'Way Ahead Of My Curve'

Kevin Durant is one of the most admired players in the NBA, and the praise comes not only from fans and commentators, but many of his peers in professional basketball. As Durant tries to capture his first NBA title at the young age of 23, last year's NBA Finals MVP, who went through an arduous journey to get his first title, has decided to weigh in on the uber-talented Durant.

Dirk Nowtizki had one of the most incredible postseasons in NBA history on his run to the 2011 title, but the sharp-shooting German says Kevin Durant is light years ahead. Via Marc Stein of ESPN:

"KD," Nowitzki says, "is way ahead of my curve."

[...]

"He's arguably the best player in the league right now," Nowitzki told ESPN.com over the weekend. "I see a guy that really has no holes.

Nowitzki was effusive in his praise of Durant, calling the former Texas Longhorn a basketball freak. He hopes the Thunder, who look like a potential Western Conference dynasty, will no longer be able to afford Serge Ibaka and James Harden after their impressive run this postseason. As for Durant, he knows he'll have to finish his career matched up against the dynamic young superstar to his north, but that all the praise is justified:

"I think he's such a basketball freak that he just watched it a lot and decided to copy it. At the All-Star Game, their coaches told me that Kevin is such a basketball fanatic and freak that he watches film on everybody in the league all the time. He practices for hours and hours and stays extra to shoot and work on different things. He's a freak of nature and a workaholic and he deserves all the praise he gets."

For more on the 2012 NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat, check out Welcome To Loud City and Peninsula Is Mightier. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA Basketball page.