Collins
You watch the games, you see the scores, but how do you really know what's going on in NBA Playoffs 2005? 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.

New Jersey's Jason Collins was the starting center during the Nets' Finals appearence in 2003. Send Jason 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 Nets reach.


Collins answered your first round of questions on Friday, April 29:

Q: What steps are you working on to defend against Alonzo Mourning? Seeing as how he practiced with you and played in a Nets uniform do you feel you have the advantage in defending him?
-- Ted Moffatt

Collins: All of us are very familiar with his game. Going into the series we were really concentrating on Shaquille OíNeal but since Alonzo had a good game in Game 2, we will definitely have to pay more attention to him and keep him off the offensive glass. He is a high-energy guy. We had to put a body on him and keep him off the offensive boards.

Q: Yo Collins! How do you feel playing with J. Kidd and VC? I go to the games all the time. Coach Frank is Coach of the Month. Do you think he'll be Coach of the Year?
-- Vatche Asadurian

Collins:Itís great. Those guys are two superstars in this league. And when they are on the court they make everyone better.

I definitely do. He is the hardest working coach in the NBA. We had a lot of adversity, a lot of different situations happen this season and he has always been positive. He always kept us in the right mindset to go out there and be successful.

Q: What would you say the biggest challenge is defending Shaq?
-- Katie Solook

Collins: Keeping him away from the basketball. Heís strong and heís always pushing. You have to do a good job of using your strength, your technique and your foot work to keep him away from the basket to make it difficult for him to get in scoring situations.

Q: My name is Ryan. I'm 5-1 and 211 pounds. I want to play basketball next year for my high school but I'm scared because I think I'm too short. What do you think I should do? I would really appreciate if you tell me. Thanks for reading my letter and I hope you give me good tips.
-- Ryan Worley

Collins: You are going to have to take advantage of your size and strength.

Q: Jason, ever think about doing the twin switch with Jarron? Then you can both take on Shaq in the first-round!
-- Bill Bruno

Collins: We have done the twin switch in class in high school but never at this level. I will say when Shaq was in the Western Conference and Jarron playing in Utah, I would always call Jarron and get his advice considering they played the Lakers four times a year. We would compare notes on how to guard him and how to make it difficult for him to score.

Q: Jason, you are often described by your teammates and coaches as someone who "does the little things" to help the team win -- things that don't show up in the box score. How would you describe what these things are? In other words, when watching you, what should fans look for to evaluate your play, and to determine how effective you have been?
-- Warren Firschein

Collins: Trying to step up and take the charge, I got one on Dwayne Wade in Game 2. I felt like I could have had a couple more. He is one of those guys who goes to the basketball full speed but he is also agile enough to slide away from the contact.

But if you step up too, he can dump the ball off to Shaq for a dunk so you have to time it right. The other thing I do is set screens, trying to get Vince, RJ and JKidd open. The big thing, though, is guarding Shaq, forcing him to shoot turnaround jumpers as opposed to going to the basket.