Commentary

Who has most riding on postseason?

PER Diem: April 16, 2010

Updated: April 17, 2010, 12:42 AM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
Amare Stoudemire and LaMarcus AldridgeSam Forencich/NBAE/Getty ImagesLaMarcus Aldridge and Amare Stoudemire will be battling each other in Round 1 with plenty to prove.

In contrast to the rest of the NBA season, the playoffs are more about the name on the front of the jersey than the name on the back. Sure, we'll still hype up big individual matchups ("It's Kobe versus Durant!"), but ultimately what matters is which team advances, not which players perform the best.

Nonetheless, playoff success or failure can radically alter our perception of players and careers. Last year the reputations of players like Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol and Rashard Lewis took a major step forward thanks to their teams' postseason success, while players like Trevor Ariza, Hedo Turkoglu, Dahntay Jones and Ben Gordon all got paid based on their playoff performances. And two years ago, Paul Pierce planted one foot in the Hall of Fame by winning the MVP of the Finals.

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