Hobby Musings: NBA carrying plenty of excitement in offseason – The NBA season may be over, but there has still been plenty of intrigue with the recently-concluded draft and an interesting free-agency period about to get underway. For what all of this means in the NBA card market, I had the chance to catch up with Blowout Cards’ Matt Thomas. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: With the NBA draft over, which player do you think improved his trading card stock the most based on where he was drafted?
MT: If LeBron James decides to stay in Cleveland next year (which is a big if), I’d say that Collin Sexton has a great opportunity to flourish in the Cavaliers’ backcourt. There will be high expectations and he’ll undoubtedly be compared to his predecessor (Kyrie Irving). However, being paired up with “The King” and being able to learn from one of the greatest of all time is a blessing and a worthwhile opportunity. If James decides to leave, Sexton will be looked at as the next guy to lead the Cavaliers in years to come.
KS: Conversely, which player’s cardboard stock was negatively affected by where he ended up?
MT: I hate to say it, as this guy was one of the most electric scorers in recent history, but Trae Young going to Atlanta is a destination that doesn’t really favor a top-5 pick. The Hawks are an extremely young team in the early stages of a rebuilding process. There will be a lot of pressure on Young to lead this team early and often. Don’t be surprised if Trae Young is among the rookie leaders in scoring, but it would have been interesting to see what his card values could be if playing for a contender or in a bigger market.
KS: Overall, which NBA rookie are you expecting to have the biggest impact on the hobby community this season?
MT: If he lives up to the hype, Luka Doncic is going to be the player that drives the 18/19 NBA draft class. Doncic has been on NBA scouts’ radar since he was 16 years old and playing professionally in Europe. Anytime your name is mentioned in the same breath as someone as revered and beloved as Drazen Petrovic, you know there is a lot of hype. Maybe I’m a bit biased, as my ancestors are from the same part of Eastern Europe, but I really feel as though Doncic has the potential to be the next great international superstar. It also helps that he will be playing for a franchise, the Dallas Mavericks, who’ve been led by a European superstar for the past 20+ years, and he can team up with an electric second year guard in Dennis Smith Jr.
KS: Who’s an under-the-radar rookie you think could make a nice impact?
MT: Lonnie Walker IV couldn’t have asked for a better place to get drafted! The San Antonio Spurs have one of the greatest coaches of all time, a tremendous scouting department, and always seem to have a knack for drafting and developing young talent. Walker is a super athletic player who played and battled in arguably the deepest conference in college basketball (ACC). It might not happen immediately, but expect to see Lonnie Walker’s name flash at times during the upcoming season.
KS: This class is following up an impressive crop of rookies from last season. With names like Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell leading the way, which player do you think could have the best staying power with his trading cards next going forward?
MT: In addition to Luka Doncic and Trae Young, players like Marvin Bagley and DeAndre Ayton will have high expectations coming into their rookie seasons. It’s sometimes difficult for people to understand, but these guys were attending high school prom a little over a year ago! It takes time to get acclimated to the NBA game and everything that goes into being a professional athlete. Last year was fantastic as we saw many rookies make an immediate NBA impact and flourish right out of the gate. Let’s hope this year is similar and you get guys who necessarily weren’t drafted as high, like Michael Porter Jr., who turn into the superstars they were projected to be coming out of high school.
KS: We’re entering what could be a crazy free agency period, with LeBron James at the center of it all. With that in mind, which player could see the biggest boost to his trading cards with a move to the right team?
MT: I think everyone is waiting to see what happens to Kawhi Leonard this offseason. If he teams up with LeBron James and helps create the newest NBA “Super Team,” I could see his card prices spike without question–especially since he was absent for much of the 17/18 season. When healthy, he’s arguably a top-five NBA talent, as he possesses tremendous skill on both sides of the court.
KS: I’ll get you out of here on this. As we sit today, which current player is the hottest in the NBA trading card market?
MT: The usual suspects come to mind–LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis are all megastars in the trading card world. I think a lot of people are waiting to see what last year’s rookies can do for an encore, as Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell were incredibly special in their first years. Oh, and that guy from Philadelphia who won ROY—Ben Simmons is pretty good too!
Hobby Musings: NBA carrying plenty of excitement in offseason
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