Let’s continue the countdown… a lot of these players can be bought NOW or SOON at lower-than-usual prices, and could lead to short-term profits or prove worthy of holding for the long-term. Long-term could be more than six months in the world of Basketball cards, but it’s up to you! Here are the next five players in our countdown…
#25 – JALEN GREEN, Houston Rockets – Easily the most dynamic volume scorer in his rookie class, Green has the green light to shoot all game in Houston. I would not be shocked if Jalen averages more than 23 points a game in his second full season. The chemistry he’s developed with Kevin Porter Jr could be incredible throughout the course of the season. His card prices are already fairly high, so I’m not quite sure when to buy in on Green. I just know that I’m going to do so. Green might sneak his way into some All-Star discussions as early as December, and I could see his card values climbing during the first few months of this season. Buying times would be right now or wait until the Rockets are eliminated from the playoffs.
#24 – DAMIAN LILLARD, PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS – Dame is back, and he will be remembered as a top 75 player of all-time. Much like his Portland predecessors (Clyde Drexler for one!) Lillard may never get the full credit or acclaim that he’s deserving of. The card hobby follows suit, and prices for the 2012-13 rookies of Lillard have hit an all-time low. If he returns from injury to full Dame Dolla form, then it’s no shock to see him in a few more All-Star games. But will Portland be a contender anytime soon? Or will they wind up finally embracing a youth movement and shipping Lillard to the Lakers?
#23 – SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER, Oklahoma City Thunder – Best player on a bad team. This was supposed to be the year that OKC actually tried to contend with a young core including SGA, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, and of course Chet Holmgren. But Holmgren’s injury set the team back dramatically in the short-term, and I think it puts SGA’s career at a crossroads. How many “tank for lottery guy” seasons can SGA endure? When he’s on the court, Shai is capable of averaging 30-8-8 and mimicking Luka Doncic type highlights. If somehow the Thunder make a playoff run, trade for another superstar, or deal SGA to a contender, we will be glad we stocked up on his cards now. There will be a payoff for investors in SGA, it’s just a matter of timing.
#22 – DONOVAN MITCHELL, Cleveland Cavaliers -The biggest move in the offseason might be the biggest bargain in sports cards. If Cleveland gets the 100% scoring, leadership, and clutch play of Utah Donovan Mitchell, then watch out. The Cavs’ playoff run will mean a rise in Donovan’s card values, and the pace could be meteoric. I’d focus on autos, PSA10’s, silvers, or rare cards of Mitchell if you can find them.
#21 – KLAY THOMPSON, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – one of the best long-term investments in the game could also be a great flip come playoff time. Fans and card investors are used to seeing Klay and the Warriors contend for championships, so it will be tough to “wow” them again until June. For now, Klay will try to make his case for a return to the All-Star game while sharing the load with Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Steph Curry. If Draymond gets traded, then Klay stands alone historically as Steph Curry’s “Robin” and a safe longer-term investment if his cards are quality or GEM.