The NBA playoffs see the league's stars take centre stage, but often it's the role players who can go on to decide a quarter, a game, or a series.
In 2021, there was no shortage of players who stepped up at the right time, with free agency just around the corner.
MORE: Ranking the best players available in free agency
Let's take a look at six players who boosted thier stock the most:
Postseason Stats: 17.8 PPG, 3.3 APG, 40.8 3FG%
Nobody made more money for themselves during the playoffs than Reggie Jackson, who stepped up in Kawhi Leonard's absence to morph into the Clippers' bonafide second option.
Knocking down 40.8 percent of his 3-pointers, Jackson was unconscious from beyond the arc and made at least three triples in 15 playoff games - a feat only previously achieved by Golden State Warriors duo Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
After signing mid-season for the veteran's minimum ($1.6 million), granting Jackson Early Bird rights, the Clippers can't offer him more than $10.1 million next season. He'll have no shortage of suitors on the open market, but returning to the Clippers gives him a solid role, either as a starter or off the bench as well as the ability to contend for a championship.
Postseason Stats: 9.3 PPG, 3.2 APG, 35.0 3FG%
One of the best stories of the season, Payne went from out of the league the previous season to joining the Suns in the bubble, to developing into a big part of their run to the NBA Finals.
Throughout their run, Payne proved to be a reliable option off the bench, who isn't afraid to let it fly from deep and when he was called upon in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals with Chris Paul sidelined, he stood up with a 26-point explosion on 12-of-24 shooting.
Still just 26 years old, Payne has solidified himself as a reliable backup point guard.
Postseason Stats: 8.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.7 SPG
That's NBA champion Bobby Portis to you.
With a ring on your resume, the price goes up, but Bobby Portis more than made a case in the playoffs for the Bucks, capping off the NBA Finals with a 16-point performance off the bench in Game 6.
Portis gives you a high energy big man, who can play as a small ball five, knock down threes and crash the offensive glass.
With a $3.8 million player option, he'll likely decline and cash in for a solid contract.
Postseason Stats: 13.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 35.7 3FG%
Collins turned down a $90 million extension offer from the Hawks earlier in the season, opting to bet on himself in search of a max contract and after his showing in the postseason, its' safe to say that bet paid off.
The 23 year-old saved some of his best performances for the playoffs, showing he wasn't afraid of the big stage as he knocked down big shots, battled on the glass and superbly combined with Trae Young.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Hawks extended a qualifying offer to Collins, making him a restricted free agent and there will be no shortage of offers from other teams. The question is will the Hawks match whatever offer he gets to retain the promising big man.
Based on their run to the Eastern Conference Finals, it would be hard to see them not doing so.
Postseason Stats: 8.7 PPG, 2.6 APG, 37.5 3FG%
After starting the season with the New York Knicks, Rivers found himself on the Nuggets as cover following Jamal Murray's season-ending injury.
In 15 playoff appearances, (five starts), he showed he can provide reliable minutes as a backup point guard, who can seamlessly slide into the starting role. In Game 3 of their first round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, he stole the show, scoring 16 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.
Still just 28 years old, Rivers delivered the perfect audition for a playoff team looking for serviceable backup options.
Postseason Stats: 9.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 38.9 3FG%
Signing in Brooklyn for $1.6 million, Blake Griffin proved he is still a solid rotation piece after some excellent performances in the playoffs.
While he's not the same high-flyer he once was, Griffin proved he can still throw it down and finish at the rim, but teams don't neccessarily need him to be that guy, given his ability to operate as a floor-spacer, knocking down 38 percent of his triples.
He started all 12 games for the Nets in the playoffs, averaging 26.5 minutes, operating as a small-ball five, while playing solid defence against the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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