The clash started before the Dallas Mavericks 104-89 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, with Mavs owner mark cuban doubling down on his view of the Thunder's Russell Westbrook. Reiterating a stance he first made before the Thunder tossed Dallas from the 2016 NBA playoffs in the first round, Cuban again stated that Westbrook is not a superstar, nor an MVP candidate since his team is mostly likely going to fall short of 50 wins. Cuban said he thinks the battle for MVP is a "toss-up" between James Harden and LeBron James with Kawhi Leonard into the mix, saying that Westbrook is not even in the picture.

The other MVP candidates

There are generally two ways people judge an MVP in sports, either it is the player deemed to be the "best" in the league, who just so happens to always be on the best team, or they look at it as who is the most "valuable" player to their team. LeBron James is having an amazing season even by his standards, averaging 25.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.9 assists, all while shooting a stunning 53.9% from the field. However, Lebron plays with fellow stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who granted has been injured since early February. The Cavs have still been number one in the East even without him and have managed to add Kyle Korver, Derrick Williams, Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut for more depth.

Kawhi Leonard is having his best season, averaging a career-high 26.1 points with 6.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Leonard is the Spurs only all-star, but LaMarcus Aldridge was last year and he also has a number of veteran champions, along with the best coach in the league Gregg Popovich. James Harden is also having his best season under Coach of the Year front-runner Mike D'Antoni, with 28.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 11.3 assists.

Houston has the third best record in the league and Harden has much less help than LeBron or Kawhi, although he does have Lou Williams and Eric Gordon, the two front-runners for Sixth Man of the Year.

The case for Westbrook

Compared to the other candidates, Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple double and has the most points in the league with 31.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 10.0 assists.

He has matched crazy records this year, many of which have only been done by Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robinson, Elgin Baylor or Michael Jordan. The Thunder are the seventh seed now at 35-27, but look at his team and coach. The Thunder's best players after Westbrook are Victor Oladipo, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams, all solid players, but not guys you want to be your second or third best player. His coach is not a former Coach of the Year or NBA Champion but Billy Donovan, who is coaching his second NBA season at any level. Westbrook is carrying this team with no other all-stars, sixth men of the year, future Hall of Famers or former champions, besides Norris Cole.

Without LeBron and Kawhi the Cavs and Spurs still make the playoffs.

Without Harden the Rockets probably do not, but without Westbrook the Thunder have no chance and would be completely irrelevant. He is clearly the most valuable player to his team. If he averages a triple-double he should win MVP and not be robbed of it like Oscar Robinson or Wilt Chamberlain was in the 1961-62 season.