Well, this blog post was supposed to be up BEFORE the NBA season started… and things have changed by now… but I did want to finish the true first LIST of the top 30 players as we saw it in mid-October of 2022, so here goes as we continue the countdown….
#20 – ZION WILLIAMSON, NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – For card investors, Zion is the ultimate risk. Big potential for a big fella with a ton of hype that launched his NBA career and helped ignite the sports card boom of 2020. What a terrific player when he’s healthy, and we hope for his sake and the Pelicans’ playoff chances that Zion can play at least 65 games this season. Given his track record and body type, I’m a little skeptical and concerned, and so I’m probably missing out on some of the terrific card market deals with Zion cards being down more than ever.
#19 – DEVIN BOOKER, PHOENIX SUNS – Here’s a superstar who has already been to “the mountaintop” of making the NBA Finals and being an MVP candidate. His card market is still relatively cool, but Phoenix would say it’s a “dry cool.” In other words, we think Booker is a terrific young player on a team that has fallen short of its goals in each of the past two seasons. Booker’s 2015 rookie cards are harder to find than most young stars, and it might be worth it to buy already-graded Prizms or Donruss cards that many people may want to buy again in June.
#18 – TYRESE MAXEY, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Quite simply, the brightest young prospect who can score from anywhere on a team that’s headed for another playoff run in one of the league’s largest markets? What’s not to like here? In the minds of most sports card junkies, the headline names from the 2020 rookie class are Lamelo and Anthony Edwards – perhaps rightfully so – but those guys and their card values skyrocketed much of last season. Investors may finally be warming up to Maxey, an energetic young guard who may surpass Lamelo and Edwards in on-court performance before January.
#17 – CADE CUNNINGHAM, DETROIT PISTONS – Entering his sophomore season in the NBA, Cade doesn’t offer investors a lot of “bargains.” You’ll pay a premium for any of his sought-after cards, parallels, autos, or short-prints. But Cade is backing up the hype and might quickly deliver on his card values. We would wait until more rookie cards are released (hurry up, Select, Mosaic, and others) and buy Cade rookies after the first wave of over-spenders who have to buy new stuff have been there and done that. Buying Cade rookies in January feels like a great move, especially if they are the kind you’d send to PSA.
#16 – JAYLEN BROWN – BOSTON CELTICS – Jaylen always starts off the season well, and he is just starting to enter his prime. Jaylen and Jayson (Tatum) seem destined to challenge for the Eastern Conference championship for about 8-10 years to come, and Brown’s 2016 rookies have cooled off for a bit, if only because it was the offseason. We fully expect Brown to dominate from the start and score 25+ points per game, on his way to another all-star team and deeper playoff run.