DALLAS – During the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round playoff series against Oklahoma City last spring, owner Mark Cuban went out of his way to claim that Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is not a superstar.
Over seven months later, and despite Westbrook completely tearing up the NBA with a phenomenal 12 triple-doubles, Cuban still hasn’t changed his stance about the mercurial eight-year veteran.
"We’ll see if he’s a superstar or just pretty damn good,’’ Cuban said. "Right now he’s putting up the numbers of a superstar, that’s for sure.’’
Arguably the NBA’s leading Most Valuable Player candidate this season, Westbrook has put up so many superstar-type numbers that he’s averaging a mind-boggling 30.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 11.3 assists per game. The last player to average a triple-double this deep into the season was Oscar Robertson, who averaged a triple-double – 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 11.4 assists – during the 1961-’62 campaign.
But the amazing feat Westbrook has accomplished this year hasn’t moved Cuban’s meter in regards to whether or not he is a superstar. Cuban says he simply needs to see more from Westbrook big picture-wise.
"You know how I judge -- the 50-win mark, do something in the playoffs,’’ Cuban said. "It’s no disrespect to Russell, he’s been a beast to have done what he’s done.
"I’ll stick by my definition. I’m not saying he’s not going to prove me wrong and that he’ll be a superstar by the end of the year. That’s fine, but I’ll stick by my definition.’’