Mark Cuban is the NBA’s most outspoken owner, and he’s not changing his stance on Russell Westbrook’s superstardom — or lack thereof.
Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks met in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, and Cuban said that Westbrook couldn’t be labeled a superstar because he hasn’t shown an ability to carry a team by himself.
The Thunder beat Dallas in five games, and Russ averaged 26 points, 11.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds.
Now that he’s without Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City is 14-9 after losing to the Houston Rockets Friday night. They’re sixth in the West and are on pace to win 50 games. Still, despite the incredible numbers he’s boasting, Cuban isn’t ready to call him a superstar.
“He’s putting up superstar numbers. That’s for damn sure,” said Cuban to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “I’m not taking anything away from what he’s been able to accomplish, but I’m not going to change my definition. He’s putting up superstar numbers. You can’t deny that.”
On the season, Westbrook is averaging 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds, and is looking to become the first player to average a triple-double for a year since Oscar Robertson did it in 1962-63. With another inflated stat line against Houston, 27 points, ten rebounds and ten assists, Westbrook collected his seventh-straight triple-double and became the first player to do so since Michael Jordan.
Russ is a front-runner for the MVP and he’ll easily win it if he’s able to lead the Thunder to the postseason. The Western Conference is lacking the parity that’s it’s had in previous years, so Oklahoma City finishing as a middle seed is likely. If they’re able to get hot down the stretch, they could catapult into the top-four.
The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are the only two teams who have clearly separated themselves. Below them, anything goes.
If there’s anyone who can continue at this pace for an entire season, it’s Westbrook. And doing so would validate his superstar status. Do I already believe he’s a superstar? Yes. But to each is own.
Start a conversation with me on Twitter