Mark Cuban insists Russell Westbrook isn't a superstar despite historic streak
Despite a mounting pile of evidence to the contrary, Mark Cuban is doubling down on his assessment of Russell Westbrook.
The Dallas Mavericks owner claims he's not disrespecting the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, yet Cuban insists that in his eyes, Westbrook simply isn't a superstar.
"He's putting up superstar numbers. That's for damn sure," Cuban said of Westbrook as the Thunder took on the Houston Rockets on Friday night. "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." [...]
"That's no disrespect to Russell," Cuban said. "He's been a beast. Few have done what he's done, but I'll stick by my definition. I'm not saying that he's not going to prove me wrong and that he [won't be] a superstar by the end of the year. That's fine, but I'll stick by my definition."
Just what is that definition? I'm glad you asked! When the Thunder and Mavericks met in the first round of the NBA playoffs this past April, Cuban explained what separates Westbrook from someone like, oh, I don't know — maybe Dirk Nowitzki, for example?
Yeah, it was Dirk. Of course Cuban used Dirk as his example:
“When you look at Dirk – I’m not going to talk about other teams' players other than what I just said – Dirk for 15 years won 50 games no matter what,” Cuban added. “We put Moe, Larry and Curly next to him and he won 50 games … and I know there’s your headline.
“Russell’s certainly an All-Star, but I consider Durant a superstar. You look at Dirk all those years to now, he carries teams to 50 wins. To me, that’s (what makes a superstar) … when you win by yourself … it wasn’t until we got [Jason Kidd] that we had another Hall of Famer. So, to go the 15 years where Dirk won 50, that’s a superstar. There’s only a few guys that you put them on any team and they’ll win 50 games. To me that’s the definition of a superstar.”
For what it's worth, Mr. Cuban, that was not our headline. We went with the much simpler, "Mark Cuban says Russell Westbrook isn't a superstar."
As for Westbrook, I kind of agree with Cuban, at least to an extent. If he continues to play like this, there's a definite ceiling on how good the Thunder can be. On the other hand, Oklahoma City is currently on pace to win 49.9 games this season. I'm willing to round up to 50 for the sake of this argument, which technically would make Westbrook a superstar by Cuban's definition.
For now, there are 59 games left to go to see how this plays out. Personally, I can't wait.