Around the Rim: Class of 2008


1. Hall of Fame time
While the NCAA national championship game might have been the most exciting event in San Antonio on Monday, it wasn’t the only ticket in town. Long before Mario Chalmers became truly Super, seven basketball legends were selected to grace the Hall of Fame. Of NBA note, Adrian Dantley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing and Pat Riley got the nod. However, nobody was more overcome by the moment than the voice of college basketball Dick Vitale. Dicky V was all choked up all afternoon as he savored the honor.

I can’t run, can’t jump, can’t shoot, but just have had a tremendous — I’d like to think — passion about the game,” said Vitale.

The fellas officially take their places amongst the other legends of the game on Sept. 5 in Springfield, Mass.

2. LeBron takes it easy for a change

The last thing the Cavaliers need right now is to drop out of the top four in the Eastern Conference and lose home court advantage in the opening round. And that’s exactly why LeBron James didn’t practice on Monday. King James has been dealing with a bad back for a while now and in order to make sure the superstar is ready to finish the season strong, the Cavs gave him the day off. It’s not like he needs to practice anyway, he’s a triple-double waiting to happen for cryin’ out loud. The kid should have been shut down two weeks ago when this problem first started. Now Cleveland is dealing with an injury-laden James, a losing skid of five losses in seven games and it owns a measly two-game lead over Washington in the standings. Luckily, its next game is against New Jersey.

3. Eric Gordon follows Kelvin Sampson outta Indiana
Eric Gordon has confirmed he’ll be entering the NBA draft, meaning the Heat and the Sonics can finally start to get a glimpse of what their future’s could hold. The six-foot-four guard led the Big Ten in scoring with 20.9 points per game while setting the school and conference record for freshman scoring with 669 points. Unfortunately, all that glitz was somewhat negated when he injured his wrist back in January and his game went downhill. And with guys like Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, D.J. Augustin and Kevin Love possibly in the mix, Gordon could slide to a tail end top 10 pick.

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Utah (51-26) @ New Orleans (54-22)
On paper the Jazz look pretty darn good with a 50-win season wrapped up and a current grip on the fourth seed in the West. But looks can be deceiving. While owning the league’s best home record, Utah is a pathetic 16-22 on the road. In fact, the only reason they even have homecourt advantage at the moment is because the three division leaders are guaranteed one of the top four seeds. But it should still be a compelling matchup, especially at the point guard position where Chris Paul and Deron Williams will go head to head.

Buzzer Beater: Without saying he was going to pick Michael Beasley in the draft, Pat Riley said he was going to pick Michael Beasley in the draft. Of course, this is assuming Beasley goes pro and the Heat grab the top pick. But assuming all goes according to plan, Riley expects his recent scouting trip to the opening round of the NCAA tournament in Omaha to pay off. In case you don’t remember, Kansas State just so happened to open and close its March Madness in Omaha.

If the ping-pong ball falls right, I think one of the players I saw will be in a Miami Heat uniform,” Riley said. “That was why I was in Omaha.

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