Russell Westbrook’s play has deserved a lot of appreciation and respect. However, there have been some analysts and owners who have made some comments that suggest otherwise.
It all started with some tough criticism from Charles Barkley. Russell Westbrook had a tough night with 45 points on 36 shots in which he shot 2-of-11 in the 4th quarter and he heard it from Barkley on Inside the NBA.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 3, 2017
To say that the Thunder “would be better if Westbrook did less” is crazy. They need every ounce of effort that they can get from Russell to be successful and that’s obvious. Did he probably shoot too much in that game? Sure. But I don’t believe he’s out there chasing triple-doubles and there’s definitely no way in hell this team would be successful, better yet 35-28 without all of those triple-doubles.
As crazy as Charles Barkley’s comments sounded, there were others who also decided to chime in. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks was asked about his MVP candidates and he left Westbrook off of the list.
Cuban said Sunday that the MVP battle is a “toss-up” between Houston’s James Harden and Cleveland’s LeBron James, with San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard also deserving of mention in the conversation. Where is Westbrook in the mix?
“He’s not,” Cuban said while going through his pregame exercise routine ahead of Dallas’ 104-89 win over OKC.
Cuban acknowledges that Westbrook is “an amazing athlete” who is the “most explosive” player in the league and has the “best motor.”
“The criteria hasn’t changed,” Cuban said. With a wry smile, he added: “And if I changed my mind, it would ruin all the fun for you guys.”
This wasn’t the first time Cuban took shots at Russell Westbrook. Back in April of 2016, Mark Cuban stated that he wouldn’t label Westbrook as a superstar and he stuck with that story in December reaffirming his comment. To me, this looks like an owner going out of his way to discredit a player. I understand his criteria of wanting players of successful teams in the MVP discussion but come on now.
Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double… A TRIPLE-DOUBLE. He’s doing something that no one thought would ever be accomplished again. Although he may not be on a 50-win team, he’s still on a winning team that’s currently in the playoff race, and a team that would probably be dead last in the NBA if they didn’t have him by their side. If you ask me, that screams Most Valuable Player. This MVP candidacy is a tough one but Russell Westbrook’s slot is already written in stone.