Russell Westbrook is averaging 31.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 10.0 assists through the first 63 games of the 2016-17 NBA season. He has recorded an astounding 30—yes, 30—triple-doubles this year (or two more than Michael Jordan had for his entire career). And at 35-28, he has the Thunder in perfect position to clinch a postseason berth this spring, despite the loss of Kevin Durant last summer. So there’s no way he’s not an NBA MVP candidate this season, right?
We’re not even going to bother answering that, because… duh. But in spite of all that Westbrook has accomplished, Mark Cuban—a known Westbrook hater—isn’t ready to hand him the MVP trophy just yet. In fact, Cuban isn’t even ready to discuss the idea of giving Westbrook the MVP trophy. Because for some strange reason, Cuban doesn’t think Westbrook belongs in the MVP race this season.
Prior to the Mavericks game against the Thunder on Sunday, Cuban was asked who he would give the MVP award to at this point in the season. He said it would be a "toss-up" between James Harden and LeBron James with Kawhi Leonard coming in a close third. That, of course, prompted one reporter to ask Cuban where Westbrook falls in the race. And Cuban responded by leaving him out.
"He’s not," Cuban said.
Cuban acknowledged that Westbrook is the "most explosive" player in the NBA right now, so he didn’t completely discount him. But he suggested that, in order for a player to win MVP, his team needs to win at least 50 games, which is something that probably won’t happen in Oklahoma City this season.
"The criteria hasn’t changed," Cuban said, before pretty much admitting that he's just trolling everyone with his latest Westbrook comments. "And if I changed my mind, it would ruin all the fun for you guys."
There is certainly an argument to be made against Westbrook’s MVP chances. But to leave him out of the MVP discussion altogether? That’s just cold. Then again, would you expect anything else from Cuban? It’s just too bad KD isn’t around anymore to defend his former teammate against Cuban’s ridiculous statements.