December 12, 2016, 1:02 pm
Way back when the Thunder were still America’s kinda-sorta Sweethearts, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban declared that Russell Westbrook was not a superstar. He’s wrong. That led to Kevin Durant defending his then-buddy and calling the Cubes an idiot.
Cuban defined a “superstar” as a player who can drag a mediocre roster to 50-plus wins and a first round victory. The Thunder, behind a Westbrook statline that sends mere mortals running for the hills, are on pace for 51 wins. The rest of the roster, while not great, is probably better than mediocre- but we’ll check one of Cuban’s two boxes for the sake of argument. Currently the sixth seed, OKC is lined up to face one of San Antonio, the Clippers or Houston if they can hold steady in the five through seven range.
An upset might be tough to swing so the second half of Cuban’s inane, completely arbitrary definition will likely go unsatisfied. But make no mistake, Russell Westbrook is a superstar.
Cuban doubled down on his stance today (he’s still wrong), with quotes coming from ESPN’s Tim McMahon. (In a fun little twist, McMahon was one of the reporters that Cuban temporarily banned from Dallas home games as part of his half-baked protest on behalf of traditional journalism.)
He’s putting up superstar numbers. That’s for damn sure. 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. 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.
With Westbrook on pace to be the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1962 to average a triple double over the course of a full season, it’s a shame that Cuban is holding so tightly to a silly opinion at all, let alone in public view. And really, with “superstar” being a meaningless designation, what’s the sense in dredging this all back up? That sort of hierarchy is completely subjective and engaging in these semantics will do absolutely no good.
Perhaps he should focus on rebuilding his own team rather than take needless potshots at another team’s player. Or just appreciate greatness as it unfolds. Cuban’s remarks are his prerogative, but he certainly hasn’t come off well so far this season. When it comes to Westbrook, maybe he’ll be singing a different tune by the second round.
Oh, and the Mavs play the Thunder on January 26th. DFS players will have a little extra incentive to fire up Westbrook for that one.