Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban knows that NBA fans are seeing something special from Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook this season.
The Thunder star is averaging an impressive 31.7 points, 10.6 rebounds and 10 assists per game, and could finish the season averaging a triple-double if he continues his insane level of play.
Before the Mavericks earned a 104-89 home win over the struggling Thunder on Sunday night, Cuban acknowledged that Westbrook is "an amazing athlete" and the "most explosive" player in today's NBA. However, that doesn't mean Cuban thinks Westbrook should be the NBA MVP.
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According to ESPN.com, when Cuban was asked about Westbrook's status as an MVP candidate this season, he said he doesn't even consider the Oklahoma City star to be in the conversation:
"He's not," Cuban said while going through his pregame exercise routine ahead of the Mavericks' victory.
"The criteria hasn't changed," Cuban said. He added: "And if I changed my mind, it would ruin all the fun for you guys."
Cuban's criteria for NBA MVP candidates, as he stated last year, involves leading a team to 50 wins. That, he believes, is what makes a player a superstar.
However, Cuban's thoughts on Westbrook aren't shared by the entire Dallas organization. Though coach Rick Carlisle didn't go as far as to say the Oklahoma City star was the league's MVP, he did say that he's stunned by what Westbrook has done this year:
"It's amazing what Westbrook is doing," Carlisle said. "He just has boundless energy. He never slows down. His wide-ranging skills to do all these different things - and the tenacity that you have to have to average that many rebounds - is just impossible to describe. I'm in awe of it."
Westbrook, though, can't do it all, as Sunday's loss proved. Even though he scored 29 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists, it wasn't enough to prevent the Thunder from losing their third-straight game.
If the Thunder don't give their star more help moving forward, it's possible (though unlikely) that they could slip out of the playoff picture. At 35-28, the Thunder hold a 6.5-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. Both the Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers (or another team in the mix for the West's final playoff spot) would have to heat up quite a bit to end the season to displace Westbrook's crew.
Either way, meeting Cuban's arbitrary MVP requirement of leading a team to 50 wins seems like a long shot for Westbrook now.