Dennis Scott: Harden Is The MVP By A Little Bit

Fifty-eight seconds into his Cavaliers career, Andrew Bogut fractured his left tibia against Miami on Monday and is likely out for the season. How will this injury impact the NBA title race?

“I don’t think it impacts the bottom line heavily,” NBA TV analyst Dennis Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Let’s face it: Andrew Bogut was going to be an extra big body for foul trouble. Because at the end of the day, if we all think it’s going to be the Cavs and the Warriors in the Finals again, it’s going to be a lot of small ball going on. The (Deron Williams pickup), I think, is going to be bigger big-picture for the Cavs.”

Bogut, at 7-0, is a good rim protector who provides bulk in the paint. But the days of a tough NBA center imposing his will are more or less gone.

“(In my era), you had at least 10 centers where they had and wanted the ball in the post,” said Scott, who played in the NBA from 1990-2000. “Now we just don’t have those guys Think about it. Dwight Howard and Al Jefferson and Zach Randolph (are the paint threats) – and even Zach Randolph is coming off the bench and shooting more threes than he’s ever shot in his career. So when you look at the landscape and you look at the personnel – look at Porzingis in New York. He’s 7-1, and he’s more of a swing guy than a post-up guy. That’s just the skill set of our big men today compared to yesterday. Marc Gasol is really the last guy that really pots up – and even he’s shooting more threes this year than before.”

Scott also weighed in on the MVP race, which will likely come down to James Harden, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook, who seems to be losing steam in the MVP discussion despite averaging a triple-double.

“At the end of the day, we love the numbers,” Scott said. “We love that Russell and James Harden are playing like video game numbers. That’s exciting. But you have to reward winning. And then to the big picture, you have to reward a guy that’s playing both ends of the floor. Right now for me, I still have James Harden (as MVP by a little bit).”

In other news, Scott is hosting an all-new episode of 3DTV featuring Hall of Famer John Calipari. The sit-down interview airs this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET on NBA TV. Follow Scott on Twitter @3DTV.

You can also tune in to NBA TV tonight at 11 p.m. ET for the debut of this month’s Beyond The Paint, which is the network’s magazine-style show hosted by Matt Winer. Tonight it will shine a light on the little-known basketball program at Louisville’s Simmons College. It is a story about how basketball and former NBA players as coaches can serve as mentors for at-risk youth.

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