The 2012 NBA playoffs first-round matchups are set and fans are in full prediction mode. Many teams are poised to make a run at the championship and anything can happen in the postseason.
The playoffs are where true superstar legacies are made. Regular season accomplishments can mean very little if those accomplishments are not supplemented by some sort of postseason success.
For example, Tracy McGrady was one of the top players of the last decade, but in the eyes of many fans, he will be remembered more for his inability to escape the first round than his spectacular regular season exploits.
The NBA playoffs are where potential free agents or players seeking pay raises can earn their keep.
A great example of this is Jerome James (pictured above), who out of nowhere parlayed an 11-game stretch of 12.5 PPG and 6.8 RPG in two series for Seattle in 2005 (after averaging 4.9 in the regular season) into a 5-year, $30 million FA contract from the Knicks.
James never played more than 10 minutes a game for the Knicks in the following four seasons.
With that in mind, here are predictions of a player from each first round series who can have breakout performances early this postseason, due to opportunity from team injuries, favorable matchups or from simply riding a hot streak into the playoffs.