The NBA season is almost over. There are only 10 days left, which means playoff races are nearing a conclusion, teams are being eliminated and clinching playoff berths, and some well-deserved rest is finally being earned. However, with the playoffs comes a new narrative. When you play into late April, the expectation is that certain guys are going to step up in the clutch.

It's a narrative that has plagued some stars forever while defining the careers of others. The greatest players don't just meet expectations in the playoffs -- they exceed them. They will their team to victories and do everything they physically can to get over that hump. Every team has a player that will need to step up whether it be to rewrite history, earn a new contract, or just to take the next step in their careers.

Of course, not everybody can make the playoffs. Fourteen teams will be sitting at home, but most of them have players that have something to play for. Young players are constantly trying to make the most of their minutes and soon-to-be free agents are seeking out that final payday. There might be 10 days left, but these games count just as much as the ones back in October did. Let's close out this incredible season strong.

Biggest Movers
6 Celtics
4 Thunder
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1 Rockets This might finally be the season that Chris Paul can get the playoff demons off his shoulders. He's been excellent in the playoffs, outside of a moment here and there, but his results have given him a narrative as someone that can't win the big one, or at least reach the conference finals. That narrative will increase if he disappears during the playoffs and Houston fails to make the Western Conference finals. -- 1-1
2 76ers There isn't much playoff experience on the Philadelphia roster so it'll be leaning on veterans come postseason time. This is where J.J. Redick comes in. The long-time vet needs to set a message for his team and play well. 4 1-1
3 Jazz Ricky Rubio has never been to the playoffs before. The Jazz have been a surprise team for a lot of people, but Rubio has always been a player that's come under scrutiny while in Minnesota. He has a chance to prove a lot of those doubters wrong in the playoffs. -- 2-0
4 Celtics Al Horford is a tremendous player. He anchors the Celtics' incredible defense and is a consistently good player for them. He's also been a no-show during the playoffs on multiple occasions against the Cavaliers. If Boston runs into them, he'll need to prove that it's not the same old story with him. 6 0-2
5 Trail Blazers Jusuf Nurkic has been disappointing this season. He hasn't been awful by any means, but there are a lot of times where it feels like Portland is playing well in spite of him rather than because of him. A big playoff performance would erase any doubts there are with him. 3 0-1
6 Warriors Golden State is the defending champs with what is almost the exact same roster. They don't have to prove anything to anybody. 2 2-0
7 Raptors Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have both laid eggs in the playoffs in the past. They both have something to prove. Before this season, so much of the work fell on to Lowry's shoulders. He's been relieved of that this season. Can he step up in the playoffs as a response? 2 1-1
8 Cavaliers LeBron James is going to be who he always is and Kevin Love has proven that in the right matchup he can be a force in the playoffs. An x-factor for Cleveland is J.R. Smith. He was incredible when Cleveland won the championship in 2016. He was a non-factor last season. The Cavs need Smith to be at his best if they're going to make another title run. 4 0-2
9 Spurs LaMarcus Aldridge has been the San Antonio's best player this season, but he's still trying to shake off a horrible postseason performance last season when he was called upon after Kawhi Leonard's injury. This is chance to redeem himself, even if it doesn't result in a run as deep as last time. -- 1-1
10 Pacers The Pacers were supposed to be awful this season and instead they're amazing. Just reaching the playoffs is an accomplishment. That said, Victor Oladipo had a rough go of it in his first playoff appearance with Oklahoma City. This is a chance to bounce back. 1 0-2
11 Thunder Russell Westbrook is the reason the Thunder were able to bring in Paul George and he's the reason Carmelo Anthony was willing to waive a no-trade clause to come to Oklahoma City. He has the help and now it's up to him to convince that help to stay beyond this season. 4 0-2
12 Pelicans Just getting to the playoffs would be a large enough accomplishment for this team. There is nothing more Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday can to prove. The rest of the players on that team, however, need to prove they're worth keeping around when DeMarcus Cousins comes back next season. 4 0-2
13 Clippers If the Clippers can sneak into the playoffs then that might be more of an accomplishment then anything they actually do during the postseason. It's honestly a shock to see this roster is still hanging in there with less than two weeks to go. 1 0-1
14 Heat Hassan Whiteside indicated he's not happy with his minutes in Miami right now. His future with the team could be in serious jeopardy. If that's the case then he'll need a good playoffs to prove to other teams he's worth trading for. 1 1-0
15 Nuggets Denver was falling behind in the race, but a fortunate Easter Sunday has put them right back in it. If the Nuggets can vault themselves into the playoff conversation, and get a big series out of Paul Millsap, that would be incredible for them. They need to get an idea of how this core works together after injuries derailed their regular season. 2 2-0
16 Timberwolves The Wolves haven't made the playoffs since 2004. If they can hold on and get in, then that should be considered a successful season. It would be nice to see Andrew Wiggins come through with a big playoff performance, but just logging playoff millage is important in terms of experience. 3 1-0
17 Bucks Jabari Parker is going to become a restricted free agent this summer. A big performance during the playoffs could get him a nice payday from either Milwaukee or an interested team trying to cash in on free agency. 1 1-1
18 Wizards Bradley Beal said back in November that the Wizards were the East's best team. If the standings hold as is, then he'll have a great chance to back up that talk against the Cavaliers, who are currently third in the conference. 2 2-0
19 Pistons The Pistons have quietly put themselves back into the playoff conversation with the Bucks faltering ahead of them. They still need some luck, but this is a good chance for Andre Drummond to lead his team. 3 0-1
20 Lakers While the Lakers won't make the playoffs, they can continue to develop their young players. A strong finish out of Julius Randle would be fantastic, especially considering that he's going to be a restricted free agent and he will be looking to prove to teams he's worth the payday. -- 0-2
21 Hornets Charlotte isn't going to make the playoffs. Players on that roster are playing for jobs and contracts at this point and they'll need to earn it because there's a growing feeling that Charlotte will be making a ton of changes this summer. 2 2-0
22 Nets D'Angelo Russell got benched the other night. You can point some of his struggles toward the knee surgery had earlier in the season, but there has to be concern with how much better Spencer Dinwiddie has looked than the player they traded Brook Lopez for. 3 1-1
23 Kings It's been an up-and-down season for De'Aaron Fox. He needs to finish strong and prove to the Kings he's a guard worth building for the future. 2 1-1
24 Bulls Chicago has a mish-mash of players they'd like to see finish the season well and they're all young. All the veterans know they're trade fodder at this point if their contracts aren't expiring at the end of the season. 3 2-0
25 Grizzlies It will be interesting to see what the Memphis roster looks like next season. Some guys like Wayne Selden have shown they're worth keeping an eye on in the future. Others, like Ben McLemore probably won't be around too long. 3 1-0
26 Hawks Atlanta has a lot of intriguing young guys that could be valuable to the future of Atlanta, or be a good throw-in candidate for a larger trade. Someone like Dewayne Dedmon has a chance to make this season into a good payday. 3 1-0
27 Knicks If Frank Ntilikina returns from injury then the Knicks will probably want to see more of what he can do before the season ends. He's been a bright spot and has the chance to be one of their guards of the future. 3 2-0
28 Mavericks Like a true rookie, Dennis Smith Jr. has been getting better as the season has gone on. Dallas keeps increasing his role and he's been meeting those expectations. 1 0-1
29 Magic Jonathan Isaac is going to be part of the Magic's future and his limited time on the floor this season means every minute counts. The rest of this roster is playing for jobs. Whether that's in Orlando or elsewhere remains to be seen. 3 0-2
30 Suns The Suns have been a mess all season. They're finishing just how they started -- in a gigantic flame of inexplicable losing. -- 1-1