It’s still just a “concept” and there are plenty of questions but the NBA season may wind up finishing after all. Suspended back on March 11, the league is set to resume at the end of this month in Orlando, with “seeding games” to establish a playoff schedule. Crazy things could happen after what’s essentially been an entire off-season, albeit with few personnel changes.
Great teams may not be great in Orlando. Eight seeds may be playing like one seeds. Who knows?
While the basketball trading card market has been sizzling even without on-court action, a resumption of play should increase interest.
In no particular order, here’s a look at some players whose cards could be the most active based on what lies ahead.
Well, duh. Can you believe this guy has still only played 19 NBA games? With the early hype and the price jumps we’ve seen since he stepped on the court for the first time back in January, you’d think the buzz couldn’t get much bigger, but if the Pelicans can sneak into the playoffs (it won’t be easy), Zion will be an even bigger deal.
Having spent two months on the court now, he’s really not a rookie anymore. He spent the hiatus getting in better shape which is a scary thought.
Zion’s rookie cards aren’t likely going down anytime soon, barring another major injury. If he stays healthy and enjoys a long run in Orlando–or even plays well during what’s left of the regular season, it’ll only fuel the fire. Can you imagine the eyeballs on a Zion vs. LeBron opening round matchup?
Before COVID, Giannis and the Bucks were cruising. At 53-12, they were heavy favorites to win the East and possibly their first NBA title since 1971. Giannis battled through nagging injuries as the season wore on but still put up historic numbers. He’s on pace to average at least 30 points and 15 rebounds per 75 possessions, something no player has ever done.
Still just 25, Giannis will almost certainly win his second MVP but if the Bucks can pick up where they left off and win their first NBA title since 1971, his rookie cards will get another huge bump. His second-year cards are still a bit of a bargain, especially the lower-end brands.
He was all the rage a couple of years ago, but a major injury, a falling out with the Knicks and a trade to Dallas kind of pushed Porzingis to the back burner in favor of the league’s newest stars. He’s healthy now and had some stellar games over the winter months. Yes, Luka Doncic is his teammate and his cards have been among the hobby’s hottest but Porzingis may have more to gain at the moment.
The Doncic-Porzingis duo will be fun to watch in Orlando and in the years to come. Doncic rookie cards have been among the hobby’s hottest. He never totally left collectors’ radar, but at age 24, it’s hard not to think Porzingis cards could have a huge ceiling once the Mavs build an even better team around them.
Few were playing better than Ball before the hiatus. In the 16 games prior to the shutdown, Ball averaged 14 points, nearly nine assists, seven rebounds and nearly two steals per game. Teaming with Zion and Brandon Ingram will make the Pelicans one of the NBA’s more exciting teams upon the resumption–and down the road. USA Today calls New Orleans “the most dangerous sleeper” as the league heads to Orlando.
After the rookie hype died down and his Lakers team wasn’t able to generate much enthusiasm, Ball’s rookie cards have become less pricey with plenty of room to grow…and he’s still only 22.
The Grizzlies currently have the eighth seed and if they can hang on, the NBA’s likely Rookie of the Year will be on the big stage for the first time. Charismatic and confident, he’ll be one of the NBA’s “faces” for the next decade and more.
Obviously, his rookie cards have been very popular all season but you could say they’re a bargain when compared to Zion and the extra attention of playoff games would definitely do wonders for them heading into what will be a short off-season.
Adebayo is having a breakout year, recording his first triple-double games and making his first NBA All-Star team and winning the Skills Challenge. He was averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists before the season was suspended.
“He’s on the cusp of being a superstar,” one veteran Western Conference scout told Sports Illustrated.
Should the Heat put together a long run in Orlando, Adebayo will be able to showcase his talents to a rapt international audience.
Adebayo has his share of collector/investor fans and high-end or popular issues have gotten a tad pricey but many of his rookie issues remain affordable.
LeBron is always a player to watch, but especially this year. The rest certainly has to help an aging player heading into the home stretch. However, the playoff grind in Orlando will be a huge test with games every other day.
LeBron’s cards have never been cheap but if he can carry the Lakers to a championship in honor of Kobe Bryant, it’ll be a story for the ages. And remember a few years and championships ago, we all thought Tom Brady’s cards couldn’t possibly go any higher.
Still just 23, Brown is already a thoughtful and passionate leader on and off the court for the C’s but with collectors, he has taken a back seat to talented teammate Jayson Tatum. The athletic Brown is having the best season of his career, though, averaging over 20 points per game.
Most of Brown’s cards aren’t expensive at all compared to other young NBA stars. He’ll be very visible in the days and years ahead for one of the league’s marquee franchises–one that is certainly on the list of contenders in Orlando.