Commentary

Power Rankings: Lin's Turnover Edition

Originally Published: February 20, 2012
By Greg Hardy | Page 2

Step up for a batch of give-and-take with ESPN.com's 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 Presidents' Day weekend inspired by the upcoming movie "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" to write a spec script titled: "William Henry Harrison: Mummy Buster" (SPOILER ALERT! The mummies eat WHH 30 days into the job). To the results!

1. Lin's turnovers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: By now, you're fully aware that our No.1 job in the media behind building someone up is pointing out ways as to why that person is terrible. So please allow us to use this space to explore the No. 1 glaring flaw in Jeremy Lin's game, which is his outrageous amount of turnovers. He's averaging 7.2 per game in his past five outings, including nine in the loss to New Orleans. Then again, that's a problem with all young athletes. If you've ever coached a youth soccer league, what's the No. 1 thing you have to teach kids on defense? Never try to clear the ball across the middle, it will be intercepted by the other team and it will turn into an easy goal. This grand comparison is what came to mind during Sunday's game against the Mavericks when at one point Lin was trying to bring the ball upcourt, he got tied up, tried to pass the ball across his body, and it got picked off. But Lin is a smart guy. We're sure that soon enough we'll stop comparing the one flaw in his game to 5-year-olds playing soccer. Unless he starts trying to kick the ball with the outside of his foot. In fact, we look forward to the day when Professor Jeremy Lin will lecture on the subject at Harvard. Especially the class where he brings in Mike D'Antoni as a guest speaker to explain how as New York's coach that was the reason he never put Lin on the floor until desperation time. He was afraid that too many Lin turnovers would keep the Knicks out of the playoffs. Hey, live and learn.


2. Pau Gasol trade

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: The Lakers are getting dysfunctional again, and Kobe Bryant has gone on record as saying it's hard playing as a team when they don't know if Gasol is going to stay or go. But what kind of blockbuster deal is going to make the latter worthwhile? We tried fiddling around with the NBA trade calculator and the most exciting offer we came up with was that Los Angeles ships Gasol to Minnesota for its NFL franchise. Somehow, we don't think David Stern will agree to that.


3. Daytona 500

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: As NASCAR's Super Bowl is set to take place next weekend, results from Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout show that rules changes seem to be eliminating the hated tandem racing that's cropped up at superspeedways in recent years. It's sort of like the breakup of two people you knew separately who then became a romantic couple: First, you couldn't stand to see them together being happy but boring in public. Then you hated that they only seemed to be staying together because it was easier than breaking up. And now that one of them finally had the guts to break things off, you're looking forward to rooting for them on their own. Unless one of those friends is Kyle Busch, whom you would never root for under any circumstances but who always seems to win anyway.


4. Red Wings' home streak

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: Detroit's amazing Joe Louis Arena win streak is now at an NHL record of 23 games. No one's been this comfortable at home since that weekend you came back from college and found out your mom and dad rented your bedroom out to those interns from the American Foot Massage Institute. The best possible news of all in this for Red Wings season-ticket holders is that once you secure home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, that guarantees that when you're swept in the first round by the Wild, that Game 4 loss will be in Minnesota -- far, far away from where you'll be crying on your living room couch.


5. Phil Mickelson

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: Lefty couldn't seal the deal in a three-man playoff at the Northern Trust Open, done in by Bill Haas' 45-foot birdie putt at Riviera. Thus, Mickelson also lost his bid to be the first PGA golfer to win in back-to-back weeks since Tiger Woods did it in 2009. Geez, why hadn't anyone won back-to-back golf tournaments in Woods' absence? Is that just a coincidence, or was there some sort of mental block going on? Maybe in Mickelson's mind, it only counts as back-to-back wins if Tiger is his playing partner on the final day. And Woods is playing a mind game back by not winning back-to-back tournaments and keeping that asterisk alive. Imagine how much the PGA Tour will charge in rights coverage once it figures out how to put golf's mental game on TV.


6. Skinnier CC

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: Look who showed up to Yankees spring training having dropped up to 15 pounds to a trim (for him) 290 pounds. We're not saying CC Sabathia had a weight problem at the end of last season, but it was getting to the point where the lefty could have been guilty of lowering the mound just from being on top of it each time he came out. This season, he promises that he'll be looking in good enough shape that Alex Rodriguez will want to be photographed kissing CC's mirror.


7. The Oscars

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.1 10.5

Credentials: No matter how out-of-touch the Academy's votes seem to be when paired against U.S. box office figures, everyone loves to fill out an entry for the office Oscar pool. It's great practice for next month's March Madness bracket! Only in this case, at least you know Syracuse and Kentucky will wipe up the 16-seeds they're paired against. That's why you'll never get into a bar bet over why "The Vow" is better than "The Artist."


8. Ali's gloves

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: How much would you bid for Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves from his 1965 heavyweight fight against Floyd Patterson? If you're Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, that would be $1.1 million. Which beat the $1 million put up by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Look at the bright side, Jerry. Maybe 50 years from now, someone will bid $1.1 million for the gloves Tony Romo wore when he threw the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. Get those certificates of authenticity ready if you want future auctioneers to believe you!


9. ACC basketball refs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: Ask your lawyer friend who gives you free passes to games in his season-ticket package that he isn't using -- laws are what separate civil society from anarchy. So it's completely reasonable that referee Karl Hess took time toward the end of the Florida State versus North Carolina State basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday to eject two fans in the stands. Those fans happened to be Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani, who once upon the time were two of the best players in Wolfpack history. And they're still sorta, kinda waiting for an official explanation of what they did wrong. Were they too vocal in their criticisms of his inconsistent calls? Chewing gum too loudly? Giving Atlantic Coast Conference basketball teams too many high seeds in their mock bracketology blog? Maybe it's giving Hess too much benefit of the doubt that he just wanted to ask the pair to go to the concession stand and bring him back a Coke Zero, but obviously something got lost in translation.


10. Green Bay Packers stock

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: Great news, Canada! We mean, besides it being hockey season and all. America's favorite Favre-less football team, the Green Bay Packers, has announced that it has cleared the red tape and is now allowed to sell shares of the team in the Great White North. This is an exciting development for all pro football fans north of the border -- except for the guy who last week cashed out his retirement savings in order to corner the market in Saskatchewan Roughriders futures.


11. Fiesta Bowl scandal

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials: Former Fiesta Bowl chief executive John Junker is set to plead guilty to a felony charge of getting bowl employees to donate money to politicians and then be reimbursed by bowl funds. We're expecting the NCAA to issue further we've-had-enough-scandal-and-we're-sick-of-it sanctions, such as insisting that the Fiesta Bowl be limited to holding only one Fiesta Bowl per year from now on. Yup, that'll teach 'em. No slap on the wrist for them!


12. Dereck Chisora

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.2 7.2

Credentials: When was the last time a boxer got into this much trouble for fighting? First, he lost a 12-round heavyweight championship decision to Vitali Klitschko in Munich. In the postfight news conference, Chisora got punchy with British heavyweight David Haye. Things got so out of hand, Chisora was detained at the airport and questioned by German police for seven hours. Seven hours? Wow, how does any police department good cop-bad cop a heavyweight boxer for seven hours? BAD COP: "All right, Chisora, nobody's going anywhere until we find out what was said between you guys." GOOD COP: "C'mon, Chisora, he's leading you! Bob and weave, bob and weave, we can outlast this guy, then POW!" BAD COP: "See, this is why we never let you be Bad Cop."


13. Peyton Manning job watch

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.3 5.4

Credentials: The clock continues to tick toward the March 8 deadline for the Colts to owe their MVP face of the franchise a $28 million bonus, but we're all waiting to see which QB-deficient NFL team is desperate enough to swing a deal. We say the Miami Dolphins hold the most promise because they offer Peyton Manning the best of both worlds. If he's healthy, the Dolphins become an instant factor in the AFC East. If his neck is slow to heal, at least he can become a pitchman for his own brand of sunblock: "When I first moved to sunny South Beach after living in the Midwest since 1998, I was afraid my skin would blister faster than a blitz from the Giants' defensive line. But thanks to Peyton Manning-brand suntan lotion, my complexion is protected like I was still under the Lucas Oil Stadium roof."


Also receiving votes
• NBA All-Star Weekend: When the NBA season was saved from its lockout, so too was the midseason break that's hosted by the Magic this year. Otherwise, the most exciting thing that was going to happen in Orlando in February was your HR department's team-building exercise day at Epcot. But as the weekend approaches, obviously the NBA will want to maximize Jeremy Lin's exposure. Yet we also need to realize the young man could use a break to rest up from his average of 36 minutes per game on the floor. Our suggestion: Let him catch up on sleep in a five-star hotel room bed that's nicer than his brother's couch that he was sleeping on, and during the dunk contest let Blake Griffin throw down by jumping over Lin's car. (Note to ESPN research department: Jeremy Lin's Knicks contract does earn him enough money to buy a car, right?)

Never receiving votes
• The General Lee at a NASCAR event: It's like this: Golfer Bubba Watson is so proud that he won an auction for an original Dodge Charger from "The Dukes of Hazzard" that he couldn't resist showing off its '80s-kitsch glory to the rest of the world. He arranged a swap with driver Denny Hamlin: Hamlin would caddie for Watson at the par-3 tournament at Augusta National in exchange for Hamlin providing Watson with a Hazzard County-inspired firesuit and helmet. And somewhere along the line, Watson was given the OK to drive the General during a parade lap for the upcoming Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. Until NASCAR officials figured out: "Oh, you mean that car with the Confederate flag painted on the roof? Not for all the moonshine behind Cooter's garage." No offense, Bubba, but you should have bid on the General Lee mockup from the Barenaked Ladies video "One Week." Check out the car chase that begins around the 1:30 mark, and you can spot the ride, even though it has a No. 07 on the side instead of Bo and Luke's No. 01. But by the 2-minute mark, you'll notice there's nothing painted on the roof except a coat of Hazzard County orange. Either way, Bubba, just promise us that if you ever win an auction for a pair of Daisy Duke shorts, you'll only model them on yourself behind closed doors.

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.