Prior to Game 5 of the first-round series between Dallas and Oklahoma City, Mavs owner Mark Cuban surprised with a comment in which he called Kevin Durant the lone superstar of the Thunder. Russell Westbrook? Just an All-Star.
Here’s a bunch of numbers that say otherwise, although most of you probably didn’t need any convincing. (He really passes the eye test with flying colors).
For starters, there’s just two players in the Top 5 in points, assists and steals since Westbrook entered the NBA in 2008. One is LeBron James, of course. The other? Yes, Westbrook.
The Thunder guard is No. 5 in scoring ahead of (wait for it) Mavs’ Dirk Nowitzki, fourth in assists and third in steals.
Westbrook is also by far the best player at his position when it comes to rebounding the ball right now and actually one of the best in league history.
The five-time All-Star is not just getting it done in the regular season. Westbrook is No. 6 in playoff scoring since 2008 and almost a lock to move to No. 5 ahead of Paul Pierce in the series vs. San Antonio. If the Thunder upset the Spurs and make it to the Conference Finals, he’d probably surpass Kobe Bryant for No. 4. He’s also fifth in assists and seventh in steals.
If you want to go the analytics route, Westbrook has you covered there too with a No. 11 spot in Win Shares, No. 8 in PER and No. 4 (ahead of Stephen Curry!) in Value Over Replacement Player.
Aside from that, Westbrook is durable. He didn’t miss a single game his first five years as a pro. While hit by injury later in his career, he has returned an even better player.
You can make an argument that Westbrook is not the best player on his team yet, but not that he’s not a full-blown superstar. He’s been one for some years now and nobody would pass on a chance to get him. Not even Cuban’s favorite player.