To combat the influx of emails I've been getting from you, my incredibly passionate readers, I have decided to start doing a semi-regular mailbag. Basically, whenever I'm not enthralling or angering you with my columns and articles, I will throw in a mailbag. That way, you'll know I actually read your emails and take them seriously ... most of them.
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When I picked against the Dallas Mavericks earlier in the playoffs, I received this note in May:
You are truly an idiot! You couldn't have been more wrong and I don't know how anyone could read an article about the NBA and take you seriously ever again! Good luck covering Lacrosse!
-- Scott Fralicks -- Arlington, TX
After my response:
I actually read [your article] after game 1 and thought that it sounded so LA biased that it just hit my hot button! I'm wasn't surprised by it because if you watched any coverage today it hasn't been about what Dallas did right, it's all about what the Lakers did wrong! I'm just tired of the Mavs 'soft' label and to totally disregard the Mavs bench was a complete oversight ... I commend you for not taking down completely.
I do very much appreciate you writing back though. You seem to be a very stand up guy.
JS: Apparently Scott knew all along what I didn't find out until the Western Conference Finals. This Mavs team was brutally resilient. Every time I counted them out, they fired back with a gritty comeback. I send my congratulations to the city of Dallas and tell the fine people there to enjoy it ... because the Cowboys certainly don't have next!
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What happens to the Miami roster? Who takes a pay cut to sign with them?
-- Jay Gothier, Maryland
JS: That's a fully-loaded AK-47 question. For all the talk that this year's Heat team is the team of the future, there is a boatload of moving parts to consider. For one, the roster has eight free agents, one of the highest numbers of any team in the league.
The glacially slow Mike Bibby will surely not return, nor will Juwan Howard or Erick Dampier. Mario Chalmers is emerging as a solid NBA contributor who can play both guard positions and will surely want a sizable contract. James Jones is another guy who can command decent dollars as one of the game's premier spot-up 3-point shooters. Jones played a pivotal role in the Boston series and is an ideal kick-out option for both Wade and James moving forward.
I view Chalmers as the most important though. He is one of the team's better defenders and elite steals men in the NBA. Erik Spoelstra has said he thinks he can start in the right system. Still just 25 years old, Chalmers is enough of a playmaker to allow Wade and James to play off the ball. Look for Pat Riley to go after a point guard in free agency or potentially the draft though, just in case. T.J. Ford is a real possibility, as is Earl Boykins. And, don't forget that J.J. Barea is a free agent as well, though I highly doubt Mark Cuban will let him get away.
All of that said, I still think Wade should be running this offense. In 2006, he was lethal as a point guard when Miami beat Dallas in The Finals. But we know that'll never happen.
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You are right.
Well, of course you are. You are a columnist at a well-respected website. You are able to use words-of-mass-confusion to make your point. You don't have to tell both sides of the story because you don't think that there are two sides. Your goal is to make people feel angry and disgruntled. That way they might come back and read your next diatribe.
You are right. Jim Tressel is exemplary of a system where very rich and talented people get much, much richer as the result of the efforts of some really poor and talented people. And the whole point of the system is to make sure that the rich people stay rich and one or two out of hundreds of those poor people get rich as long as all of the rest stay poor.
Rick Lakin, Math Teacher, Chula Vista, California
After an email back to Mr. Lakin, he wrote:
Of the first three people that I talked to in Columbus, two had personal knowledge of players receiving improper benefits. The first was a Teaching Assistant who failed a WR who did not come to class. He was asked three times and refused to change the grade. It was changed by a person higher up.
JS: If Jim Tressel had made one or two mistakes over the course of a career, that would be one thing. But this wasn't a one-time transgression. Tressel has been accused of cheating since his days at Youngstown St. in the late 1980s! Time and time again, he got away with it. College football no question has some unsavory business aspects and the NCAA hasn't been able to enforce its rules. But a true "codebreaker" like Tressel deserved what he got.
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I enjoyed the article on the Game 2. You commented that there was not likely a single / deciding turning point in the game, but I offer such a moment to consider --- at 88 - 73 with 6 or 7 minutes left in the game, Wade made a 3 pointer from the corner and shared a high-schoolish 30 second pose, shooting arm still raised and hoping the camera caught it all .... LeBron followed with a junior high-schoolish feinting of punches to Wade's chest as they both proudly marched for an added 30 seconds in front of the cameras just to be sure the media caught it all ..... they deserved to lose!!!
Steve Schultz -- Winston Salem, NC.
JS: Excellent point Steve. Anybody that watched that game should recall such an immature moment. Wade hung his hand up there like it was superglued to a cookie jar. Directly in front of the Mavs bench, such a moment surely motivated Dallas into its all-time comeback in Game 2. But, it shouldn't come as any surprise.
The Big Three crowned itself future champions before the season even began.
I remember feeling perplexed by its celebration after ousting the Celtics ... in the second round! For goodness sakes, act like you've been there before. The two superstars instead assumed the role of a couple of 12-year-old kids jumping for joy before riding the carousel or eating chocolate cake.
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Who will be the rookie of the year in your mock draft?
Jay Gothier, Maryland
JS: Kyrie Irving is the obvious choice because he's going to start right away and put up numbers on a bad team. But saying Irving would be way too easy. Let me offer two other possibilities just for kicks.
Kemba Walker is likely to go seven to Sacramento. The Kings are unsatisfied with the regression of Tyreke Evans and Walker, while I'm not sure his true NBA position is at point, will have the opportunity to step in and run the show. A dynamite scorer always on the attack, Walker should get plenty of time right away and could easily be a 15-16 point scorer as a rookie. The Kings were 23rd in assists last season and Walker -- who will push tempo all game long -- should help there as well. GM Geoff Petrie doesn’t have the job security to take a gamble here on a European and wait it out. Walker fills a need and is walking into a terrific fit.
Jimmer Fredette is another immediate impact type of guy. His dangerous scoring ability and long range bombing are unparalleled in many respects, but they also overshadow his facilitating ability. I have Jimmer going 15 to Indiana in my third and final mock coming out Thursday. The Pacers don’t have much depth in the back court and it's realistic to assume he can step in as a starter and play heavy minutes. If he does, he could put up some sick numbers.
Plus, check out my brand new Huff Post sports blog, The Schultz Report, for a fresh and daily outlook on all things sports.