Hobby Musings: Discussing a crazy basketball card year – Part 2 – With the NBA still in focus, Beckett’s Steven Dalton and I continue our email conversation about what this past hoops season meant for the hobby and start to look ahead to 2020-21.
KS: Steven, the hobby has been hot this year, led in large part by basketball and its amazing rookie class. With an irregular offseason and a delayed regular season coming up, how do you think that will affect the basketball card market?
SD: Well, the market has already begun to come down from an incredible hot streak that ran for months from the premiere of “The Last Dance” documentary to the NBA playoffs. Overall, online sales are not as strong, but retail product remains almost impossible to find. Several 2019-20 products are still on the way, and we’re not that far off from the release of 2020 Panini Prizm Draft Picks Basketball. Overall, the market might experience a temporary lull, but I don’t anticipate a decrease in demand for retail product.
KS: It seems like basketball resonates more, and is subject to the roller coaster nature of the hobby, more than the other major sports. Do you agree, and if so, why?
SD: I’d surmise that the worldwide popularity of basketball is related to what has transpired recently within the hobby. Whether basketball resonates more or less than other sports, I can’t really say. When it comes to the other major leagues and their respective collecting verticals, I am a casual observer at best. However, I agree with your observation of this fairly new development of the “roller-coaster” nature of the basketball card market. Two examples from NBA bubble play: Damian Lillard and T.J. Warren. Fueled by 50+ and 60+ point outputs, their cards exploded in value, but the prices have since come back down to earth. It’s a trend worth paying attention to, monitoring the fluctuation in prices based on a big game here and there.
KS: With the draft coming up, which prospects do you think collectors should be keeping an eye on?
SD: I’m going to mention four players who already have cards. As to how they’ll fair in the NBA, I can’t speculate as I haven’t seen any of them play. LaMelo Ball has a multitude of offerings (including autographs) from 2018 Leaf Products, Anthony Edwards and Obi Toppin are featured on SI For Kids cards, and this year’s top foreign prospect, Deni Avdija, is included in the 2020 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions release.
KS: Who’s an under-the-radar draft prospect that you think could make an impact in the hobby?
SD: I’ll go with Desmond Bane who played here locally at TCU. He’s projected as a late first-rounder, but he could make an immediate impact for his team, and within the hobby, because he is an excellent shooter and a team can never have enough shooting.