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.
Suns forward Walter McCarty was part of a Phoenix team that set a NBA record for total three-pointers made in a season. Send Walter 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 Suns reach.
CONFERENCE FINALS MAILBOX
Q: How does it feel going up against probably the two top power forwards in the game in Nowitzki and Duncan, and before that Pau Gasol?
-- Jeremy Hayes
McCarty: It was a lot of fun. Itís a big challenge and you want to go out there and play well. I love it. I love the challenge. I love going out there and playing with the best guys in the NBA. Thatís what itís all about.
Q: Hey Walt, why do you not pick and roll more? I think you would be much more effective coming off the bench setting picks and screens and rolling to the basket rather than rolling out for three-pointer.
-- Chris Mitchell
McCarty: I do what Iím asked to do in the game. Players have roles to play and thatís my role. Whatever Iím told to do, as far as match-ups or roll to the basket, Iíve got to whatís in the scheme of the offense. This is not Walter McCartyís team.
Q: As a good three-point shooter, give me an advice on how to be a good outside shooter. I happen to be an accurate midrange shooter with nice form but I don't have the same touch from three-point range. Is it my arm strength or legs?
-- James Watson
McCarty: Itís legs. You want to shoot the ball the same way every time. If you have the basic fundamentals on how to shoot the ball correctly, you should be able to shoot from anywhere on the floor. Itís just using your legs and knowing how much to put into it when youíre shooting. Itís all about repetition. When you get out there and shoot a lot of balls to find how you need to do it each and every time, you should be fine.
Q: First off I just want to say congrats on a great season you guys had. I am a Marine currently stationed in Iraq and a native of Arizona. I watch you guys play as often as I can, even if I have to get up at two in the morning to do so. What do you think it was this season that just made the team click like it has? Thank you for your time and I look forward to cheering you guys on throughout the playoffs. Go Suns!
-- Jeremy Duran
McCarty: I think we have a lot of talented players who can just play the game. A lot guys on this team can play two or three different positions. A lot of guys can do a lot of different things with the basketball; getting to the basket, pass the ball, shoot the ball. If youíve got guys that can do that on a lot of positions, you put a lot of pressure on other teams and it opens up a lot of things for you.
Thatís love, man. You gotta love it. Weíre here, living a dream and having fun, and heís there going to work putting his life on the line every day, so to be concerned with what weíre doing means a lot.
Q: I honestly think you guys have the best chance to take the title because how you control the tempo and pace. What do you think about everyone and their mothers putting you guys down and saying you canít win?
-- Teo Rojo
McCarty: Itís all right, man. You get put down your whole life and your whole career. If you have a dream and you strive to set goals, people always say what you canít do. I stopped listening to that when I was in the seventh grade, so you just go out and do your job, have fun, and everything else will take care of itself.
CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS MAILBOX
Q: What do you think the biggest advantage the Suns have over their opponents?
-- Nick Kenworthy
McCarty: I just think we are difficult to match up with. We have guys who are very capable of playing two or three positions. With the match-ups we put up out on the floor, it's tough for other teams to switch to lineups they aren't used to.
Q: The Mavs' Erick Dampier is the self-proclaimed "Best Center in the West." Does hearing that get Amare fired up?
-- Ryan Dunn
McCarty: We just worry about us. We don't worry about what they say. You can say a lot of different things but you have to go out there and prove it. We're more worried about winning basketball games and that's what we're focusing on.
Q: Who would you rather play in The Finals, the Heat or the Pistons?
-- Jacob Aguirre
McCarty: As long as we are there, it doesn't matter. We just have to take care of ourselves and make sure we get there. Once we're there, we won't have to worry about that."
Q: What do you think of Steve Nash winning the M.V.P. award?
-- Jack Shwack
McCarty: I think that was great. It gives a lot of guys a lot of confidence, especially young kids who are growing up who normally won't have a chance to play in the NBA because they aren't big enough. It's good for a guy who works very hard. Steve's a gym rat. He deserves it.
Q: Just to let you know I'm a Boston Celtics fan, I thought you were great on the Celtics. How do you like being out of the city of Boston?
-- Craig Hard
McCarty: I love it here. Other than missing my house, I love the team, the organization and my teammates. They have been very welcoming, and I haven't had any regrets."
Q: Walter, do you think anyone can stop the Suns if you guys get another sweep in Round 2?
-- Tadd Jones
McCarty: I hope not!
FIRST ROUND MAILBOX
Q: Do you like shooting the three?
-- DC Williams
McCarty: Shooting threes is definitely something Iíve liked to do ever since high school. I always wanted to be able to shoot the ball from anywhere. Being a center when I played in high school and in college, that made my team more of a threat if I could do that. Thatís a shot that Iíve always practiced and worked on, and Iíve become pretty good at it.
Q: You were always one of my favorites while playing at Kentucky. Iím really glad to see that youíve finally come to the Suns. Now for my question: How do you see yourself contributing to the team over the next few seasons? As more of a specialist (shooter, defender, or both) or more of a solid multi-dimensional role player? Either way, Iím glad to see you in the Purple and Orange! Go Wildcats!
-- William Golumb
McCarty: I can be a veteran leader. Iíve been around. Iíve been in the league for awhile. Iím just trying to help some of these younger guys prolong their careers. Try to give them a little advice as to what to do and what not to do and how to stay in this league for a long time. Speak to them about patience and playing the game the right way.
On the court, Iím pretty much an energy guy. I come in and change the game with my energy, but every once in awhile I get you some points. Whether itís from behind the three-point line or a short jumper, hustle plays -- just be solid. Iím someone who knows how to help keep a lead or even increase it.
Q: You know everyone loves Walta! How do you compare the style of offense you played in Boston to the style you play now in Phoenix?
-- Joey Knight
McCarty: Boston this year has some guys who can run and play the Sunsí style of basketball. They have talented young players who love to get out and throw the ball ahead and play freewill. This team right here is so talented, man. From the top to the bottom, these guys can really shoot the ball, pass the ball. Every guy on this team can do a lot of different things. Nobodyís just a one-dimensional player and thatís what makes this team so special from other teams.
Q: WHUDDUP Walter, my name is Alex Behnam and I was just wondering what I could do right now at the age of 13 to become a better basketball player. Thanks, man.
McCarty: Becoming a better basketball player requires a little talent, but you really have to learn the basic fundamentals of the game. Correct shooting and correct passing, positioning and defensive techniques, dribbling the ball from your left to right hand. You have to learn those things first. As you get better and better with those skills, youíll become a better player.
Q: Do you think you guys have all the ingredients in place to make a run at the NBA championship and who do you consider to be the toughest out in the Western Conference playoffs?
McCarty: For me, Iíve always thought we can only beat ourselves. If we donít come out and play our game, we can lose. If we come out on our game, nobody can beat us.
Q: Who do you want to win the MVP?
-- Igor Kadlec
McCarty: Thatís an easy one! Steve Nash.