Oklahoma City Thunder all-star guard Russell Westbrook tied NBA history with seven-straight triple-doubles—and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t care.

(Right) Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after shooting a 3-pointer; (left) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. (AP Photos/Alonzo Adams and Nell Redmond)

Cuban recently repeated sentiments he first expressed last postseason that Westbrook isn’t a superstar. Cuban’s explained that his definition of a superstar NBA player is one that can lead an average team to 50 regular season wins and a playoff victory. Cuban referred back to the 2014-2015 season when the Thunder missed the playoffs with Kevin Durant injured and Westbrook healthy and thriving. Cuban wouldn’t reconsider his stance with Westbrook—but the AFRO Sports Desk might, as Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley debate whether Cuban is correct.

Riley: According to Cuban’s definition I would agree. I don’t believe Westbrook is capable of carrying the Thunder to a playoff win, but 50 wins could be possible. The postseason is all that matters to Cuban, and he might have a point. As talented as Westbrook is, his inefficiencies are easily exploitable in the playoffs as Oklahoma City has painfully learned over the years. It doesn’t help that there isn’t another proven playoff performer on the team. New acquisition Victor Oladipo operated as the second-best player on most nights, but he’s never played in a playoff game. The talent is unbelievable but according to Cuban, Westbrook isn’t a superstar.

Green: The Thunder will win 50 games, make it past the first round, and prove Cuban wrong. Oklahoma City currently sits sixth in the West with a 14-9 record and a .609 winning percentage. If a team wins 60 percent of their games in an 82-game schedule, that’s a 50-32 record. The Thunder are still coming together as a team but they’re already playing solid basketball. They’ll be more dangerous as the season goes on. Outside of matchups against San Antonio or Golden State, a Westbrook-led team stands as good a chance as any team to make it out of the first round.

Riley: Only four teams cranked out 50-plus wins last year in the Western Conference, so let’s not pencil in OKC for that mark just because they’re currently on pace for it. It’s a grind in the West just to make the playoffs, and we’re talking about a roster loaded with a bunch of average players surrounding one highly-talented player inside the toughest conference in the NBA. The Thunder have the odds against them if Westbrook is going to prove Cuban wrong. Playing solo in OKC puts Westbrook in Allen Iverson’s shoes—a really great player on a team that’s not good enough for him to shine like the real superstar he is. I would want to know Cuban’s thoughts on Iverson as well, but when it comes to Westbrook, he’ll be proven right.

Green: Iverson was a flat-out star and guess who his favorite player is now? Westbrook. What happens when Westbrook accomplishes both feats this year? Will he be a true superstar by Cuban’s lofty standards? It’s always been difficult for guards to carry their teams to high achievements based on size and stature, but Westbrook is a 6-foot, 3-inch physical specimen. He has the size and skill set to shuffle between both guard spots and the athleticism to play bigger than his size and act like a forward. I just like the fire that Westbrook is playing with right now. He’s on a mission to dominate without Durant, and he probably doesn’t care about Cuban’s opinion. I’m not counting him out for a playoff series win and at least 50 wins.

Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley

AFRO Sports Desk