#15 – KEVIN DURANT, BROOKLYN NETS – One of the greatest scorers of this generation, Durant has caused – and endured – a tumultuous summer for the Brooklyn franchise. Aside from the trade demands, coaching critiques, and Kyrie craziness, it’s impossible to ignore Durant’s talent and legacy as it continues to be written. Durant 2007 rookie cards have dropped tremendously, providing a buy-in opportunity while Brooklyn and Durant figure out their problems. Personally, I like to buy already-graded cards of those older players because it’s hard to count on getting a GEM of a guy like KD.
#14 – LAMELO BALL, CHARLOTTE HORNETS – As I write this, Lamelo has been injured and missed much of the first few weeks of the season. But the young superstar has shown that he can score with anyone, command the team as a stellar point guard, and do whatever else a team needs to win. Lamelo was a “much hyped” rookie and so his cards are often seen as a premium and sold for higher asking prices than he’s earned. But he will get there – to the level of an elite superstar. The question in Charlotte is whether anyone else on the roster will help the team win, or if they will need to blow it up all over again.
#13 – JAYSON TATUM, BOSTON CELTICS – Another young superstar who will challenge for MVPs, Titles, and basketball card market profits for the next ten years. Tatum seems like a perfect long-term investment, especially since the card market has already seen him do all the big things – like scoring eruptions, playoff wins, gold medals, and all-star performances. A Celtic championship would put Tatum in the next level conversation as “next” alongside Kawhi, Giannis, and eventually even Steph.
#12 – DARIUS GARLAND, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – If the list is about upside, potential profits in your card investments, and players who are about to soar, then it would not be a shock to see Darius keep moving up the list. His rookie cards cooled off in the summer and his autographs are scarce, providing great value for flippers and short-term gains. Garland now partners with Donovan Mitchell to make Cleveland a true contender in the East, and this will only help Garland’s star on the rise.
#11 – KAWHI LEONARD, LA CLIPPERS – Returning from injury, many of us are hoping to see Kawhi regain his MVP form and lead the Clippers on a deep playoff run. He’s got Paul George, John Wall, Norm Powell, and a ton of other role players to help. His 2012 Prizm Rookies are one of the best bargain rookie cards for veteran superstars and a healthy return for Leonard could lead to immediate gains for investors. We think Kawhi is worth the risk if you’re willing to hold on and wait for his return.