The Oklahoma City/Dallas series has been the most heated of the NBA’s first round. At the center of seemingly everything has been Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who has always been known as one of the league’s most aggressive players and keeps popping up as one of the dudes involved in the random happenings throughout the series.
There was the time Charlie Villanueva interrupted Westbrook’s pregame dance with Cameron Payne, there was the scuffle on the Thunder’s bench between a few OKC players (including Westbrook) and Salah Mejri and J.J. Barea, and now, Mark Cuban’s getting in on the fun.
Before Monday night’s Game 5 between the two teams, Dallas’ billionaire owner took a shot at Westbrook, saying that Oklahoma City’s superstar guard is, well, not a superstar.
Cuban gets a lot of credit for being one of the smarter owners in the NBA. He’s a dude who doesn’t own a basketball team just to own a basketball team, he owns a basketball team because he loves the game and is deeply invested in his team’s success.
However, this is such an asinine statement for Cuban to make. It’s disappointing that he of all people wouldn’t recognize that Westbrook – who averaged a double-double this season with 23.5 points and 10.4 assists per game and was third in the league in both PER and win shares – is the very definition of a superstar. Plus, to claim that Durant carried the Thunder for so many years conveniently forgets that Oklahoma City didn’t start consistently winning 50+ games a year until Westbrook’s second year in the league.
This reeks of Cuban trying to get into Westbrook’s head before a must-win postseason game. For how great Westbrook is, he’s prone to getting overly aggressive and letting that negatively impact his game when he has a chip on his shoulder. We’ll see if this gets under Westbrook’s skin at all, but the only guarantee is that if he and Cuban go face to face tonight, it will be one of the five most entertaining moments of the entire postseason.