Commentary

Power Rankings: Fallout from Carmelo

Originally Published: February 22, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You're invited to proceed to Madison Square Garden, where you'll be needed to step up and add depth to the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer spent the holiday weekend computing statistical models of how Reggie Miller's stats can be interpreted to be unworthy of inclusion on a Hall of Fame ballot. To the results!


1. Nets sitting pretty

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.5 19.2

Credentials: At long last, we can finally believe Mikhail Prokhorov is officially out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes. But don't think the private jets zooming to swap players between Madison Square Garden and the Rockies will leave New Jersey in the wind. This all fits into the Russian billionaire's master plans to a) have the Knicks overpay for their superteam of the future so that they'll be eventually begging for role players and b) once the new NBA labor agreement is in place, the Nets are sure to gain buzz with the free-agent superstar they're ready to unveil: a Siberian dancing bear that was trained to wear a basketball jersey and brilliantly sink 20-footers off pick-and-rolls.


2. NASCAR's boy wonder

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.2 9.2 18.4

Credentials: All hail 20-year-old Trevor Bayne for treating the Daytona 500 like the elite fraternity on campus where he scored himself a brother's badge before he was even handed a pledge pin. Now, here's NASCAR's dilemma: Do they put their marketing muscle behind his up-and-coming potential, or put a wig on him and call him Danica Patrick the next time he goes to Victory Lane?


3. NFL labor talks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.5 17.1

Credentials: Nobody knows what was being said behind closed doors between the interests for owners and players in Washington, D.C., but it's not impossible to guess the mind-boggling level of minutiae that can be on the table. For example, think how long you and your idiot friends can take to negotiate whether your fantasy football league should be formatted to have two running backs, two wide receivers and a dedicated tight end spot vs. having two running backs, a flex position and three wide receiver spots and no dedicated tight end position because tight ends can be lined up as wide receivers. Either way, lots of lawyers have to get involved.


4. Bieber redux

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.8 15.7

Credentials: What's that? You say that after 122 consecutive viewings of "Never Say Never" in the mutiplex, the thrill is starting to fade? Never fear, because coming in the next few days is the new and improved "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Director's Fan Cut" with 40 minutes of reworked footage for selected theaters. You know somewhere Martin Scorsese is kicking himself that he never thought to re-release "The Departed" during its theatrical run with a new scene where Jack Nicholson threatens to break the referees' thumbs during a Lakers game unless Kobe gets T'd up so the visiting Celtics can cover the spread.


5. Auburn vs. Alabama

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.0 7.7 14.7

Credentials: In the wake of the Toomer's Corner trees massacre, these schools will meet in Tuscaloosa for a men's basketball game, and hopefully this is where tempers can cool and the healing can begin. It starts with a moment of silence for all the trees who gave their lives to become the hardwood floor that the game will be played upon.


6. Blake Griffin's Kia

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 6.6 12.7

Credentials: Does anyone know what's going to happen to the actual car now that it's achieved YouTube immortality after the Slam Dunk Contest? Here's our idea for milking that ride's celebrity as far as it will go. With the Sprite sponsorship decal firmly in place, we're pitching it to be the main rival car in our spec script for Lindsay Lohan's next "Herbie the Lovebug" movie. As long as they edit out the scene where she throws up in the back seat after a night of partying with Sprite and tequila.


7. Academy Awards

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.5 11.3

Credentials: Filling out your Oscars ballot is a great February warm-up for when it comes time to calibrate your March Madness brackets. So take our advice and fill out two sheets in your office pool: one where you have overall No. 1 seed "The King's Speech" as the Best Picture winner, and another where you have "Winter's Bone" as your Cinderella.


8. Mets money

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.6 10.8

Credentials: We won't bore you with the latest details of the lawsuits against the Wilpons to return money allegedly made off the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Then again, if the Mets make a motion at the next owners meeting that asks for the pitcher's mound to be raised, you can start being suspicious that they're running out of places to bury $300 million in cash.


9. Extreme cycling

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.4 10.7

Credentials: Talk about an injury you can't just walk off: Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang toughed it out for a bronze medal despite having a nearly 8-inch splinter of wood in his calf after a crash at the Track World Cup. Then again, if "racing a bike while impaled" becomes an X-Games event, you know where they got the idea.


10. Big East basketball

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.5 10.2

Credentials: If surging St. John's and Friend of the Page 2 Power Rankings Dwight Hardy win a conference title, look for that to translate into a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Mainly because there seems to be more teams in the Big East than there will be in the NCAA field.


11. "Red Riding Hood"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.7 9.5

Credentials: It's a bold move to try to turn the nursery rhyme into a new horror movie, but don't hold your breath that this movie will overtake the character's No. 1 pop culture use -- naughty Halloween costumes for sorority girls.


12. NFL combine

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.3 8.9

Credentials: We don't want to say the owners have ulterior motives, but it is curious that the No. 1 exercise being emphasized to prospects isn't their 40-yard-dash time, but rather how fast they can assemble stacks of temporary Super Bowl stadium seating.


13. Blockbuster for sale

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.1 2.4 4.5

Credentials: The video rental chain is looking for new ownership because the fatal flaw in its business model finally caught up with them: You can't rent stuff to couch potatoes based on the theory that they'll get off the couch and walk into your store. Still, it didn't have to end like this. Imagine how many billions in royalties they'd have in the bank if they'd have had the foresight to copyright the phrase "Blockbuster trade."


Also receiving votes
• Rihanna: Dear NBA ... here's the deal. We won't care if you go into a lockout so long as you still hold an All-Star weekend where she performs at halftime. OK, a halftime concert at an event where there's no one playing basketball is technically just a "concert," but we're very, very willing to overlook that.

Never receiving votes
• "I Am Number 4": The sci-fi franchise in the making ended up being dead in the water. Maybe the teenage aliens should have told their agents beforehand to anticipate turning the inevitable wave of "What? This isn't a Bret Favre biopic?" jokes into a lucrative series of Wrangler commercials.

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.


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Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.