In the realm of politics, Cuban’s favorite target is Donald Trump. While his rage is not as focused in the world of basketball, he really doesn’t seem to be fond of Russell Westbrook for some reason. Cuban is convinced that Westbrook is not a superstar (we’ve written about this a few times).
Westbrook, of course, is a superstar. It’s insane that any owner of an NBA team does not recognize this. With how steadfast in this belief Cuban is, you’d think that Westbrook made fun of a Dirk airball on Twitter or something. (We checked, Westbrook has never said “Dirk,” “Nowitzki,” or “@swish41” in a tweet.)
But still, on Sunday afternoon before the Thunder and Mavericks played in Dallas, Cuban was asked about the MVP race and said this:
Now, saying LeBron and Harden are the two names at the top of an MVP ballot is completely fair. Saying that Westbrook – who is averaging a triple-double and leads the NBA in ESPN’s Value Added and Estimated Wins Added statistics – isn’t in the conversation is ludicrous.
There are two ways to define “MVP,” one is best player, another is player who adds the most value to their team. Westbrook has a solid case for best player and an even stronger case for player who adds the most value. Unless, of course, you think a team led by Victor Oladipo, a solid big man, and some guys who would make good role players on most other teams would make the postseason. You know this is not true, though, because you watched the Orlando Magic from 2013-16.
But still, Cuban is still banging the “50 wins + a playoff series win” drum.
We’ll entertain this argument, even though it’s kind of ridiculous, because Westbrook has been on plenty of teams that won 50+ games and at least one playoff series. He was a major contributor on all of them, too (aside from 2013 when he missed a lot of time and his postseason was cut short). The issue was Kevin Durant was also on those teams, so Cuban is mostly just lessening Westbrook’s contributions to fit a narrative.
As Tim Cato of SB Nation pointed out, it’s kind of hilarious that this is the criteria that Cuban wants a “superstar” to meet.
That Mavericks team went 67-15, but lost in the first round of the postseason to the Golden State Warriors. Still, by the strange definition Cuban put forth, Nowitzki was not a superstar at this point. Just for laughs, here’s how the Mavericks did every year from 2007-10.
- 2007-08: 51-31, lost in first round of playoffs. Dirk is not a superstar, and any argument that could have been made based on what he did in the past was ruined the year prior, when the Mavericks did not win a playoff series.
- 2008-09: 50-32, won in first round of playoffs, lost in conference semis. Dirk did the bare minimum to become a superstar.
- 2009-10: 55-27, lost in first round of playoffs. Dirk’s superstar status is revoked, likely by Cuban in an elaborate ceremony with a cocktail hour and a hors d’oeuvres.
The following year, the Mavericks won a championship. But before the postseason even started, Cuban had this to say about Nowitzki.
“Dirk’s a superstar. He’s a legend,” Cuban said. “He’ll go down as one of the greatest superstars in the game by anybody who pays attention. The reality is, most people don’t pay attention.”
But… but he didn’t win 50+ games AND a playoff series the year before! It’s crazy to think that Nowitzki is not a superstar, but there are very strict criteria here. Cubes set them himself.
Then again, maybe this is all just Cuban entertaining himself for some strange reason: