If basketball card collectors were looking past the current NBA rookies to the draft class of season 2014-15 they were awakened last week by triple-doubles in the same game from rookies Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams. Orlando’s Oladipo will likely battle Philadelphia’s MCW for the Rookie of the Year award and also for the rookie with the most expensive cards for 2013-14.
With Carter-Williams battling a leg infection and still missing time after the showdown with the former Indiana University star, the focus has shifted to Oladipo who seems to do everything that basketball fans and card collectors like. Those who want highlight plays have already seen him dunk over centers and put some flair into his fast break finishes with a 360 degree dunk. Young players who compete in, and especially win, All-Star Weekend dunk competitions do grab a high profile and that could be what Oladipo does this season.
Fans of fundamental play have watched Oladipo shut down point guards and shooting guards, he has already produced several games of five steals and even had three blocks against the Spurs. Oladipo’s numbers in his triple-double were 26 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals.
Just as Oladipo can come out of nowhere for the steal on the basketball court, he had a similar sudden rise through the college basketball rankings. When he graduated high school he was rated by the experts as only being around the 40th best shooting guard. In his first season at IU he only played 18 minutes a game, and the Hoosiers finished 12-20. His playing time increased and so did the Hoosiers’ win total. Oladipo shot 59.9% from the field last season, and only three years after being a relatively unknown recruit, he went second overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.
This year’s first NBA-licensed card set to include an Oladipo rookie card was Hoops. Collectors can try to accumulate all the different types of his #262 Hoops rookie. There are the retail versions, red and blue, plus the Artist’s Proof, Gold and Red Backs. For around $40, Oladipo’s card in the 2013-14 Hoops Kobe All Rookie Team insert set can be purchased. His autographed Hoops cards have fluctuated in price on eBay, selling in the range of $70 to $130.
Panini’s Prestige set is a similar budget-level basketball set to Hoops and has similar types of cards and prices to the earlier release. One difference is the inclusion of memorabilia cards featuring Oladipo. The 2013-14 Prestige Bonus Shots Materials card and the Prime version that is numbered to 25 are his first official NBA memorabilia cards. They have been selling on eBay for around $25. Other Oladipo cards in Prestige are his #162 rookie card and the parallel Bonus Shots versions of it as well as his Prestigious Premieres Signatures autograph card.
The Totally Certified basketball product provides a very difficult challenge for player collectors but also a very enjoyable chase. The base card, #249, also has Totally Red, Blue, Gold, Green and Black numbered parallel cards. The lucky person who finds the black 1 of 1 will have a chance at collecting the “Rainbow” of all the parallel Oladipo cards or selling the Totally Black card for a big price. The green cards are numbered to 5 and also have high values. There are also black 1 of 1 versions of his autographed Rookie Roll Call card and his memorabilia Materials card in Totally Certified. Panini’s Black Friday packs included several Oladipo cards, with a couple of versions of autographed cards and Cracked Ice ones among them.
Autograph card collectors will notice something very different about Oladipo’s cards. Compared to so many modern players who have an illegible scribble for an autograph, Oladipo has a very clear and well-written autograph. “V. Oladipo #5” is how he signs his name on most of his NBA cards. For those looking to collect variations of his autograph, there do seem to be a smaller number of his autographed cards that have his full first and last name and don’t include his uniform number. An autograph that has the number 4 included will be from Oladipo’s college days, or a very early Orlando autograph before he received his official number with the Magic.
Every draft class has players being compared to current stars and the idea of Oladipo being a player similar to Dwyane Wade could happen. Nearly the exact same in height and weight, Oladipo and Wade were both drafted with high picks by Florida NBA teams. They are great defenders at the guard position, and if they have a weakness it is their outside shot. If Oladipo’s cards are going to reach the value that Wade’s have then now is the time to buy. Statistics also concur with the player comparison, during Wade’s rookie season his Per 36 Minutes numbers were 16.8 points, 4.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.6 blocks. Oladipo’s numbers right now for the Per 36 Minutes statistic are 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 0.9 blocks.
Miami’s Wade also has team success as a reason why collectors want his cards. Oladipo and the Magic would seem to be in a position to rapidly improve as they will have money to spend to bring in quality players plus they could have one or possibly two lottery picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Magic are also a young team so if they stay together they should develop a contender around Oladipo who is 21 years old. Big center Nikola Vucevic is only 23, while Andrew Nicholson, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless and E’Twaun Moore are 24 years old or younger.
Oladipo collectors have a lot to look forward to during his rookie season. Soon his cards will have pictures from NBA games, instead of posed studio shots, and game-used memorabilia, instead of the event-worn material on his early cards. Panini’s Timeless Treasures, with an “acetate-aided autograph”, and Elite, with the New Breed insert, will have an Oladipo insert with an autograph and a piece of memorabilia. Gold Standard and Prizm could be very popular with Oladipo collectors, and the Gold Prizm cards that are numbered to 10 will be high in value. If Oladipo is the winner of the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award then his cards in high-end products like National Treasures and even the diamond-embedded Flawless could be worth thousands of dollars.
Victor Oladipo didn’t start for Orlando until November 20, so some collectors may have taken their eye off him for his first ten NBA games. He is now in the Magic’s starting lineup and unlikely to leave it. A great athlete who is not expected to have trouble with the “rookie wall” of the longer NBA season, Oladipo’s statistics should go up and as his highlight plays increase so could Oladipo rookie cards. You can see what’s available on eBay right now by clicking here.