You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in NBA Playoffs 2004? NBA.com has infiltrated the action with the ultimate insiders -- the players themselves. We're giving you an exclusive look at the postseason with a roster of player mailboxes.
Miami's Dwyane Wade was one of the year's top rookies and a major part of the Heat's resurgence this season. Send Dwyane a question via e-mail and we'll post his answers to the best questions at least once for each round of the Playoffs the Heat reach.
Wade answered your second round of questions on Monday, May 17:
Q: I've been a big fan of yours since your days in Marquette. What do you think it's going to take to topple the number one seed in the east?
-- Wale (Richmond, Calif.)
Wade: Consistent play. Just playing the way that we always play, with a lot of energy, getting the ball out. And getting out on the fast break. I think thatís what it's really going to take. To use our youth and athleticism against them.
Q: How does it feel to win a first round series?
-- Chris (Mt. Laurel, N.J.)
Wade: It felt great because we took it to game seven. It really showed a lot of heart for a young team to take it all the way to game seven. And we could have folded but we didnít. They beat us in New Orleans in some tough games. A lot of people thought we were going to fade, but we came back strong.
Q: Sup Dwayne, how has Eddie Jones helped you and the heat this season?
-- Sufy (San Diego, Calif.)
Wade: Eddie helps me a lot. Coming in, it was a lot of controversy in the papers about him maybe leaving. He and I became great friends, because Eddie knows that Iím gonna be doing my best to get him a shot anytime. And heís gonna do his best to get me a shot. So, weíre both on the same page as what to do on the court.
Q: Who is your all time favorite player?
-- D. Philly (Sterling Heights, Mich.)
Wade: Michael Jordan.
Q: What's one aspect of your game that you feel you need the most improvement on in order to become one of the NBA's premier players?
-- Marek (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Wade: Just more consistent on my outside shooting.
Q: Hey Dwyane, which teammate(s) do you hang out with the most off the court?
-- Amber (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
Wade: I hang with Caron and Udonis the most.
Q: Growing up, who of the point guards in the NBA did you idolize the most?
-- Anders (Bergen, Norway)
Wade: Guys like Tim Hardaway, Chicago guys, guys like Kevin Johnson actually were great guards for me to emulate. And then, actually, in my own state of Chicago, a big forward named Pippen played a lot of point guard when I was in Chicago, so thatís somebody I looked up to in that way.
Wade answered your first round of questions on Wednesday, April 21:
Q: Is leading the Heat to the Playoffs more meaningful to you than leading
Marquette to the Final Four?
-- Yoa (Miami, Fla.)
Wade: I think both of them hold two different places in my heart. Leading Marquette to the final four was the first one for me, and it was a great feeing, and this one is something different. This is NBA, and that's college, so it's different. Both of them have been great so I really can't choose between either one of them... Two different experiences.
Q: How did you feel going up against an all-star point guard like Baron Davis
with yourself being a rookie and not having playoff experience?
-- Shiner (Chicago, Ill.)
Wade: It's a great challenge for me as a rookie in my first year. I think it's a time for me to make my mark in the NBA, going against one of the best guards to play the game. So I take it as a challenge.
Q: How does they playoff atmosphere differ from the regular season atmosphere?
-- Ruben (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Wade: Now we get over twenty thousand fans. The crowd, they're great every play. They make the playoffs what it is. The intensity that the crowd brings, and the fan support that we have is what makes the playoffs what it is.
Q: What went through your mind as you released the game winning shot? Did you
have any doubt on whether or not you should be taking the shot?
-- Matt (Missouri City, Tex.)
Wade: No, not at all. When it comes to the Playoffs, I was happy that he gave it to me, but when I drove, when I shot it, I thought it was good. So then it went in, so I was happy.
Q: Who would you consider your toughest match-up offense & defense, and would
you rather play against a taller 2-guard or a quicker point guard?
-- Joe (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Wade: Well, I think it'll be going against Baron Davis, right now. A guard, you never know what he's gonna do. He can maybe shoot the three, drive it to the hole, make plays, so I think on defense he's probably the toughest guard right now to guard. The smaller, quicker guards tend to be tougher to defend.
Q: How much of an impact has your coach had preparing you guys for playoff
-- Dylan (Hartville, Mo.)
Wade: A big impact, all year he has been preparing us for this moment, so not letting us feel too comfortable playing well, and not letting us go either way. Every time we do, he gets in our faces. So I guess he lets us know that we can do better.
Q: Who has been your biggest mentor on the HEAT? What have you learned this
-- Mat (Santiago, Chile)
Wade: That's kind of hard. I've had three different mentors. But at the point guard I think it has been both Bimbo and Rafer. And they both have been helping me do my role on the point guard. And then I've also had Caron Butler since day one. He's been my mentor. He has helped me through different ways of the NBA and my first year.