The concept of “buying low and selling high” has been present in tons of money making schemes. It also can apply to basketball cards. Some people collect basketball cards just to collect, others enjoy “flipping.” There’s people who flip various things for a living, and some of those people spend a good amount of time and money in the sports card hobby. With the NBA restart happening soon and the public’s interest in basketball cards skyrocketing, now is probably the best time to get in the game if you ever were going to.
There’s a few suggestions I’d like to make before I list who the “Guys to Buy” are. First, eBay, Twitter, and IG are pretty much the end all be all for buying and selling cards. I would start with eBay before socials because eBay provides a more secure purchasing environment . Second, you need to know how to make sure you know what the current “market value” is for a card before you buy it, so you don’t end up overpaying. There are two ways of checking what the current price for a card is. One is through the app “Sold For.” It’s really easy to use, you just type in what card you’re searching for and results should just pop up.
The other method is by using the same eBay app you’re using to browse items – just hit the “filter” button once you’ve typed in what you’re looking for, then hit “show more” and toggle the “sold items” on. After that, hit “show results” and it will show you everything that has sold with your search words, including the price it sold for and when it sold. The longer ago the sale was, the less likely it is to be accurate, so the more recent sales provide a more accurate assessment of the current price.
Now, onto the buy list.This list is going to be of player’s whose cards are pretty cheap, not a list of the 5 most slept on guys going into the bubble. I consider myself to be on a tighter budget, but I’ve found myself able to spare enough to pick up some of these cheaper cards. Of course the goal is the biggest ROI possible, so if you think that i’m biased against bigs, that’s why. These players won’t be in any order, so they aren’t ranked by biggest potential ROI. It’s just a list of 5 players who I think can possibly make you some profits during the NBA restart. Also, i’m mostly going to stick with younger players because cards for players that have been in the league for about 5 years already have a set market value that won’t change too much unless the player is directly responsible for a team winning a title (JaVale McGee tipping in a game winning shot in the finals, for example). Lets begin!
- Troy Brown Jr.
Troy Brown Jr. is an interesting player for the Washington Wizards. Before the restart, the Wizards had a potent offense, but couldn’t play defense very well. With their main offensive star Bradley Beal not traveling to Orlando for the restart, Troy Brown Jr. is the next man up. Beal didn’t miss a lot of time during the regular season but when he did, TBJ was towards the top in terms of minutes played. I will concede that he was a bit inconsistent during the season. For that reason we may not see him start in the bubble right away, but he’s a perfect sixth man at worst who can come in and light it up.
I know what you’re thinking, “Why is Rui Hachimura not the guy here?” Well, while Rui is the better player, the “floor” of his market value is much higher already than TBJ’s. Think about it like this; let’s say there is a TBJ card that will cost you $5 right now. Rui’s same card might cost you $15 right now. If they both end up at $30, TBJ’s card produces a higher margin of profit. TBJ has potential, he scored a season high 26 points in a game where Beal scored 30 points. He’s also an underrated playmaker, and assists and points are what primarily drives card values up.
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2) Markelle Fultz
Y’all remember Markelle Fultz right? #1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft Markelle Fultz? Before he even played a game, his card prices were already pretty high. Then the whole shoulder thing happened. That really plummeted his card values. Like to rock bottom. However, since he was traded to Orlando, his card prices have been going up slowly but steadily. Is the restart the place where he makes a leap and his card values skyrockets?
I think it might be, for a few reasons. The first reason is his shooting. Wait, I know what you’re thinking – “Markelle Fultz’s shooting? The guy who airballed free throws?” Hear me out. During his rookie year, at the peak of all the craziness with his shoulder, Fultz shot a terrible 48% from the line in the 14 games he played. In his second season, in 19 total games, he shot 56% from the charity stripe. A noticeable improvement, but he was still under 60%, and even 60% is bad. This year he made a substantial improvement from the line, as he shot 72%. Not many people would have bet he would be able to get to this number. While his perimeter shooting hasn’t been consistent, at least he isn’t afraid of taking 3 pointers.
Taken altogether, Fultz has his confidence, and confidence can take a basketball player a long way. Fultz averages a tick over 5 assists per game, and he has been active defensively, getting 1.3 steals each game. As long as Markelle can keep playing how he was, I think he can impress a lot of buyers into buying his cards, so buy them now while they’re cheap
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3) Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert is interesting because the Nets have a lot of players that will not be joining the team in the bubble. KD hasn’t played at all this season so from a chemistry standpoint, him not playing isn’t that big a deal. Kyrie Irving and Nic Claxton are both sitting out due to injuries. Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan both contracted COVID-19 and rightfully decided it was in their best interests not to go. More importantly to LeVert’s case, Wilson Chandler and Taurean Prince have also both decided to not join the team in the bubble.
That’s six guys, two of which LeVert would have to split minutes with. LeVert averaged a career high 17.7 points and 4.1 assists per game during the regular season. He shot a solid 38% from 3 at the significant volume of 4.8 per game. With basically the rest of the Nets team being unrecognizable, this is LeVert’s time to take over. There are some other Nets players worth taking a flier on if you have a couple extra bucks who are extremely cheap, like Rodions Kurucs and Dzanan Musa, that also have a chance to pop, but the percentage of that happening is significantly lower than LeVert’s chances, even with the boost both receive in minutes.
Caris was playing like an All-Star for a good part of last season before he dislocated his foot, ending his season prematurely. But with a chance to now lead the Nets, it could be the push he’s always needed to take his game to All-Start level .
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4) Aaron Holiday
A lot of people outside of Indiana may not be super familiar with Aaron Holiday, but it’s about time that changed. Yes, he’s the brother of Jrue and Justin, but he’s much more than that. This season, he was the Pacers’ starting point guard when Victor Oladipo was out with injury. At the time of writing, it’s still up in the air if Oladipo is even going to play, although he’s with the team in the bubble and is likely to scrimmage with the team. If Oladipo doesn’t play you can count on Holiday to get the starting nod and to be the main facilitator.
Even if Oladipo does play, I would imagine the Pacers keep him on some form of minutes restriction, opening the door for Holiday to get more run than usual. Malcolm Brogdon being active shouldn’t hurt Holiday a ton as they played a decent amount together in Oladipo’s absence. Holiday has some experience playing without either Brogdon or Oladipo as well. In fact, he had a career night without them both. In a November game against the Nets, Holiday went for 24 points and 13 assists, shooting 10-19 from the field.
The potential is there, and the confidence is there most of the time. His card values already rose a slight bit with the rumor that Oladipo might be out, so get in as early as possible with Holiday now to reap the rewards if he performs well in the bubble.
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5) Tyler Herro
Just like in MVP voting, winning matters. When teams make a long playoff run and have a young player who plays an important role, even if they aren’t “the guy,” they usually see a substantial increase in card value. This is especially true if the team looks like it can stay competitive and the player is likely to have a larger role in the coming years. For that reason, Tyler Herro card values are already higher than the values of the other players on this list.
That being said, I still think there’s a lot of room for the values to go up. Herro dealt with injury during the regular season and never got into a true rhythm, but I believe he’s going to be a certified bucket sooner rather than later. If he can play a smidgen of defense (he will, Spo and Jimmy won’t allow him not to) then he can become a core member of the Heat’s future, keeping them in the playoff hunt for years.
A person looking at Herro’s PPG number isn’t looking at the right stats. Look at his 39% shooting on almost six 3’s a game; he can really shoot that thing. In his 4th game as a pro, Herro scored 29 points. In his 6th game, he dished out 7 assists. He has the tools, now he just needs the platform. Tyler also has a pretty sweet signature, which most rookies don’t nowadays (looking at you Coby White).
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I can’t guarantee any of these guys are going to ball out in the bubble. I can’t guarantee their card values go up. Sometimes there’s some really good NBA players whose card values don’t go up very much for some puzzling reason, such as Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Karl-Anthony Towns. My guess is that winning has something to do with that.
This list of players is just my opinion, but if I had a ton of extra money, I would probably spend it on the guys I detailed above. But as with any money decision, please do your homework so that you’re well informed and feel confident with the decision you’re making.
As far as eBay searches go, I’m simply typing in the players name followed by the name of a product. “Prizm” and “Optic” are names of basketball card products. They also happen to be the two most popular choices. Those products are going to be where you see the biggest increase in prices. Those two products are THE products of choice when it comes to basketball rookie cards. If you want to zag while others zig, do some research and find some other products. I’ve listed a few others besides the big two in the recommendations to get you started.
Like always, if you have a question or want to learn more about basketball cards, don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @JHappychillmore and we can discuss young players and their cards. It’s one of my favorite subjects, and I can go on and on about it to any and everyone. Once you’ve made some profit we can talk about the proper way to ship and sell your cards. But until then, let’s enjoy some basketball!