When the rebuilding Dallas Mavericks decided to look to the future they wanted an athletic point guard with size and skill. They were not sure the player they had their eyes on would last to the tenth pick, but he did and quickly became in instant star who made highlight plays virtually every night. The hobby was quick to jump aboard the bandwagon and Dennis Smith Jr. rookie cards became a major part of the focus in a strong class of first year players.
Born to Ball
A prodigy since elementary school (his first dunk at age 11 was a windmill), Smith spent one year at North Carolina State. He started his NBA career with a highlight dunk the first time he touched the ball and finished his debut with a double-double. That caught collectors’ eyes but Smith quickly proved he was ready for an 82-game schedule. In fact, his stats during the last ten games of his rookie season included 17 points and nearly seven assists per game despite the Mavs not having anything to play for.
NBA players and executives have compared Smith and his potential and athletic ability to Russell Westbrook and John Wall. In fact, Smith’s rookie numbers compare favorably with those compiled by Westbrook, who now makes a habit of averaging a triple double.
Top Performing Dennis Smith Rookie Cards
While the Mavs’ lack of team success may have hurt Smith’s visibility and stunted the price of his cards a little, there have been several notable sales and a consistent demand. The average price for a Smith rookie card during the first three months of 2018 was over $41 but of course, key autographed versions go much higher. One of the two BGS 9.5 graded 2017-18 Prizm Gold autograph (# to 10) cards sold on eBay in March for $3,750. An ungraded version of the same card went for over $2,000.
Due to the product’s popularity, Smith’s 2017-18 Panini Prizm parallels could be some some of his best rookie cards. There are seven parallel versions without a stated print run, and many more that carry serial numbers. A Select Black Prizm 1/1 drew plenty of attention on eBay, selling for $1,500.
Other popular Dennis Smith Jr. cards include those from Panini Contenders. The 1/1 Championship Ticket was pulled and sold in April for a Best Offer price of $2,200.
Lower Cost Options
Inexpensive, unsigned options include 2017-18 Donruss #192, 2017-18 Hoops #259 and 2017-18 Panini Revolution #133. Those do have parallel versions though, and the Galactic version of the Revolution rookie sold on eBay for over $600 several months into the 2017-18 NBA season.
A collector can find cards with both autographs and jersey pieces in 2017-18 Panini Absolute Tools of the Trade Signatures. Smith also shares some cards with other standout rookies including De’Aaron Fox and Donovan Mitchell in the 2017-18 Totally Certified Rookie Duals Autographs insert set.
Jersey and patch cards featuring Smith are available in many Panini products, at many different prices. 2017-18 Panini Prizm Sensational Swatches #SW-DS is a very affordable card and 2017 Panini Black Friday is another product to find somewhat limited, lower cost cards from very early in his career.
Something unique–and pricey– is the oversized 2017-18 Panini Instant Instant Impressions Handprint Autographs #2.
One can also expect post-season high-end releases such as Panini Flawless and Immaculate to deliver some very popular (and pricey) cards of one of the NBA’s top rookies.
With a 48-inch vertical leap and the ability to light up a score sheet, Smith will likely continue to be among the standouts in a power-packed 2017-18 draft class. A current real-time list of the ‘most watched’ Dennis Smith Jr. cards on eBay is directly below.