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Mark Cuban Says Kevin Durant Is Thunder's Only Superstar

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

Apr 16, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban cheers his team on prior to game one of NBA playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban commented on Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook on Monday, saying he isn't a superstar.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com passed along the quote:

When pressed on the issue, Cuban offered the following criteria for superstars, per Erik Horne of the Oklahoman:

You look at Dirk [Nowitzki] all those years to now, he carries teams to 50 wins. To me, that's [what makes a superstar] ... when [you're] by yourself ... it wasn't until we got J-Kidd [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.

Cuban also expanded on other players he thought had yet to reach superstar status, via Tim Cato of Mavs Moneyball:

"Kyrie [Irving]'s not there yet," Cuban said. "I think Draymond [Green]'s an All-Star and I think he's really, really, really, really good, I think he's multi-faceted, but I wouldn't call him a superstar yet. You're not going to put Draymond on a bad team and watch him win 50 games. Draymond, he makes all the players around him better, but I don't think he goes anywhere in the league and wins 50 games."

While it's hard to quantify whether Westbrook, 27, could consistently win 50 games without Kevin Durant, his numbers speak for themselves, as he showed again in Monday night's win by going for 36 points, nine assists and 12 rebounds.

"He's an idiot," Durant said about Cuban after the game, per MacMahon. "Don't listen to him."

In the regular season, Westbrook averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, 7.8 rebounds and two steals per game. His assist and rebound numbers were career-high marks, and his 18 triple-doubles tied Magic Johnson (1981-82) for the third-most in the last 50 seasons, per the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info).

Were it not for Stephen Curry's ridiculous campaign for the 73-9 Golden State Warriors, Westbrook would likely be the front-runner for the MVP Award this season.

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That isn't to say Cuban's comments might not serve an ulterior motive as the Thunder and Mavericks face off in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders and the Los Angeles Times offered one possible explanation for Cuban's remarks:

It's also possible Cuban simply doesn't feel Westbrook could lead a franchise on his own. Multiple teams would likely love to give him that chance, however. And Westbrook will have all the bulletin-board material he needs for the duration of the series against Dallas.

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