They’re 47-12, the best record in the Eastern Conference and second best in the NBA. Ask casual fans to name a couple of their players, though, and you might get a blank stare. Atlanta Hawks basketball cards are flying under the radar just about everywhere except Atlanta these days.
That means Hawks fans can get a lot of great cards for a low price, or those who speculate on basketball cards might find some players worth grabbing before the playoffs and what may be a push to the Finals and the end of what anonymity they may have right now.
Four Hawks went to the All-Star Game this year but which players are still young enough to be intriguing buys?
Dennis Schroder and Jeff Teague have the attributes that many card collectors like. They play the same position and while both are exciting point guards, you may have to choose one over the other.
Schroder already had some fans among collectors when he was taken 17th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft and after improving in every aspect of his game, Schroder has even more now. When he was drafted, some experts thought of him as “The German Rondo” with his unselfish passing game. His shooting percentage, per minute scoring, assists and steals numbers have all increased in his second season.
Evidence that some think his cards are underpriced is that his recent 1 of 1 cards listed on eBay with Buy It Now have been snapped up: $99.99 for his 2014-15 Hoops Black and $120 for his 2014-15 Prizm Black Pulsar, but those numbers pale in comparison to sales prices for players like Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams. It should be obvious there is room for Schroder’s card value to grow, especially considering he is still only 21 years old. Schroder’s National Treasures 2013-14 signed rookie cards, numbered to 99 and less, are available for as little as $79.95.
A 6-2 point guard, the 26-year-old Teague has been blossoming into a full-fledged star, averaging over 19 points, eight assists and two steals per game. Those numbers compare well to 6-3 point guard Kyrie Irving of Cleveland. Their card prices don’t compare though, due primarily to the profile they have based on draft position and who they play for. Irving was a top overall pick, and joined a Cavs team that had a media presence due to the earlier LeBron years.
Teague was taken with the 19th selection of the 2009 NBA Draft, after six other point guards, so he has never had a lot of hype. But that could change by Atlanta winning, and if the Hawks get to the NBA Finals it could raise his currently limited profile.
Hard core collectors know Teague. Autographed National Treasures Teague rookie cards, numbered to 99, now sell for around $200. James Harden’s rookie card was in the same set and it sells for around $800 and while Teague’s scoring doesn’t match The Beard, that’s a huge gap for two top talents. Middle range brands offer Teague autographs for under $30 and amazingly, some unnumbered autographed Teague rookie cards from 2008-09 still sell for less than $15.
Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Al Horford are three very efficient players with fundamental games. But the three Hawks have few collectors bidding on their cards and two of them have been overlooked for most of their basketball careers. Korver and Millsap were not just second round picks, they were taken late in their drafts, and even though Korver sets records for three-point shooting he isn’t the focus of many card collectors.
Horford did enter the NBA with a higher profile. Not only had his father played in the NBA but he was part of the winning University of Florida team next to JoquimNoah and other stars. However, many of his best rookie cards are available at low prices. Horford’s cards also lost some momentum with fans due to injury, missing most of the 2011-12 and 2013-14 NBA seasons.
Someone at Panini had the right idea when they designed a card with the four Hawks who would later play together for the East in the All-Star Game. The 1 of 1 version of the 2013-14 Immaculate Collection Quad Materials Tags #1 with Horford, Korver, Millsap and Teague sold recently for $150.
DeMarre Carroll is the fifth starter in Atlanta and ithe well-traveled veteran will be a free agent after the season. With stops in Memphis, Houston, Denver and Utah, he bounced around a bit before finding a spot with the Hawks. He has yet to stay in one place long enough for fans to start following him and wanting his cards. Kent Bazemore, Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott and Thabo Sefolosha know how to play the secondary roles for the Hawks and are also on contracts that go on next season or longer.
It is unlikely they ever develop a large following among NBA card collectors, although Bazemore might have some potential. He averaged 13 points and started for the Lakers during his brief time there and has developed a consistent outside shot.
End of the Bench
Pero Antic, Elton Brand, John Jenkins and Mike Muscala are all players who get small minutes and could be leaving as free agents after the season. Antic joined the NBA last season as a very old rookie. Brand was once the top overall pick in the NBA draft, but that was last century and his card prices cooled off a long time ago. Jenkins was expected to provide outside shooting after Atlanta drafted him with a first rounder but he has only played small minutes during his three NBA seasons. Jenkins is young enough that he, and his cards, could rise to a new level. Most of his autographs remain at bargain basement levels. Muscala only had one rookie card made, as he joined the Hawks in late February of his rookie season.
One team that Atlanta is compared to now is San Antonio. On the court that is a good thing but for the hobby, it probably isn’t. The Hawks brought in coaching and management people who had been with the Spurs franchise and they have brought some of those concepts along. Now the Hawks are one of the best teams in the NBA. But they are not considered as entertaining as some other teams and don’t have any marquee stars and that is why many basketball card collectors and fans haven’t paid much attention.
A deep playoff run with more national TV games could lift the team’s profile and increase interest in Hawks cards. While Horford will never be as popular as Tim Duncan, maybe Teague or Schroder will be the NBA’s new version of Tony Parker.
You can check out some of the better Atlanta Hawks basketball cards on eBay by clicking here.