With the NBA season rapidly approaching, we’ve majored on podcast episodes where we breakdown some of the best players to invest in when it comes to Basketball Cards. Our podcast host joined Paul on the NoOffseason.com Basketball Card Strategy show and they rolled through every single NBA team. The sleepers, guesses, and Hail Mary picks were in full force, including obscure names like Coffey, Deni, and even – dare we say his name – Jonathan Isaac?

Then, our flagship podcast dropped two episodes with “risky picks” and “high upside picks” with some explanations, stats, budget plays and some very poor excuses.

We cannot predict the future. We don’t know which guys will stay healthy, which cards will get hot, or when you’re supposed to sell them.

But we do know some buying and selling principles. We do know what we see on the Basketball court, at sports card shows, and on eBay sales.

Truth be told, we find some of this year’s NBA teams are “cardboard irrelevant,” not worth investing in any player, card, or possibility. (Think Sacramento, Utah, and maybe Orlando, depending on when Panini plans to release Paolo Banchero rookies, which could be 2025 at this rate.)

With so many possibilities, risks, and “maybes,” we wanted to share FIVE picks, FIVE guys, FIVE preferences on those sleeper risky lottery ticket players. Here are five players we are already invested in, or looking to buy into a bit more before October 18th sneaks up on us like espionage…

SPENCER DINWIDDIE, Dallas Mavericks – Dinwiddie can flat-out score, and his return last April all but made Jalen Brunson expendable. We think Spencer will assume the role of scoring co-point guard alongside Luka and run the team when Luka is out. Dinwiddie’s 2014 rookie cards are still dirt cheap and can be found in dollar-boxes or five-dollar boxes worldwide. Grab silvers and base whenever you can. If Dinwiddie starts off the season hot, Dallas will look like a true contender in the West, because they will be!

JAMES HARDEN, Philadelphia 76ers – Is he past his prime? Can he guard anyone? Did he really drop 100 pounds? There’s an inherent risk in the current version of James Harden the player, but James Harden’s cards are a bargain. Watching him flop to draw foul calls makes me feel older than Tree Rollins, but he’s a hall-of-famer with a chance to ride Embiid and Maxey to the Eastern Conference Finals. If Harden truly in in shape to create decent amount of shots for himself, his game and his cards will jump around the All-Star game in February.

ZION WILLIAMSON, New Orleans Pelicans – Long-term concerns about big men with foot or knee problems are nothing original with Zion. Our approach with Zion’s cards might be to buy now (October) and sell in 3-5 weeks when he starts the NBA season healthy or simply wait until he has a big scoring night and sell them. The potential and possibilities for Zion are massive. I would consider buying two Zion rookies and selling one in November after a big game, and keeping the other for the playoff push in March.

CAMERON THOMAS, Brooklyn Nets – There are three certainties in life – death, taxes, and Kyrie Irving destroying a franchise from within. Brooklyn’s egos and trade demands and fake injury history won’t magically disappear. Cameron will be in the starting lineup one way or another. Perhaps this failed super-team experiment will convince the Nets to trade KD for picks and build around young players like this guy.

KHRIS MIDDLETON, Milwaukee Bucks – We think the Bucks will return to the NBA Finals this season, and a healthy Khris Middleton is the reason why. You don’t have to buy his cards now, or ever. But it’s not crazy to think Giannis, Khris, and Jrue have a few more Finals runs in them. Middleton rookies, autos, and game-worn stuff can’t be given away now, but in June, we won’t be surprised if you can’t find it anywhere. He’s another one of those 2012 iconic rookies (AD, Lillard, Jimmy, Klay, etc) but his cards rarely reflect the value of a 3-4 time All-Star, NBA Champion, and Gold Medalist who routinely puts up 25 points, 5-6 assists, and 5-7 rebounds a night on terrific percentages. The risk here is betting on the card market and card collectors when the Bucks rise again.

Which players do you find “risk-worthy” this season? Let us know @HoopsandCards on Instagram or email us at gary@hoopsandcards.com!