The Playoffs are finally here! Well, kinda. The inaugural Play-In Tournament is officially underway, and an epic duel between LeBron and Steph last night is singlehandedly making that look like Adam Silver’s best idea to date.
Last week I started a new weekly series on the Loupe blog, taking a look around the league at which players have the best chance to see a spike in card value during the NBA Playoffs. After giving you five point guards to collect, today we’ll round out the backcourt and dive into shooting guards.
Oklahoma City Thunder SG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
If you read last week’s post, you know I like to start with someone whose team didn’t make the Playoffs. For shooting guards, that player is the young Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
While SGA’s offseason is already well underway, there is no offseason in the sports card market. Card values fluctuate all the time, and it’s tough to think of a situation where SGA’s card prices will ever be lower than they are right now. Although he only played 35 games this year, SGA had the THIRD highest PER among eligible shooting guards. At only 22 years old this guy is a future superstar, and now is the time to capitalize on that while most basketball fans and collectors are all focused on the Playoffs.
New York Knicks SG RJ Barrett
Another theme you’re going to see quite a bit in these posts is the frequent inclusion of Knicks players. As I’ve mentioned before, the postseason gives players a shot to shine like never before. When the most popular team in the country’s biggest market makes the Playoffs for the first time in 8 years, that’s infinitely more true.
Barrett improved across the board in his second NBA season, and the Playoffs will be a massive opportunity for him. The former 3rd overall pick has the chance to solidify himself as a young star in the league, especially with the Knicks having very decent odds to advance to the second round.
Boston Celtics SG Evan Fournier
Sometimes opportunity is all it takes for a player to reach new heights, and Fournier will have plenty this postseason. After Jaylen Brown went down for the season you knew the Celtics would need to find an alternative at shooting guard, and if their Play-In Game against the Wizards is any indication, Fournier will be getting the bulk of those minutes.
In no way do I think Boston will beat the Nets in their upcoming series, but do they have a chance to keep it competitive? Absolutely. This will be one of the most hyped first round matchups, and with Fournier in line to play 35+ minutes a game in Brown’s absence, keep your eyes on his card prices.
Phoenix Suns SG Devin Booker
Speaking of hyped first round matchups, who’s ready for Lakers-Suns!? Phoenix is officially the unluckiest 2-seed EVER having to face a rejuvenated Lakers squad, but what’s bad for the team might just be good for their best player’s card prices.
The narrative around Devin Booker is that he’s incredibly underrated, which at this point is tough to argue. You know how you stop being overlooked? You go head-to-head with the greatest player on the planet, drop 40 a couple times, and get the dap from LeBron at the end of the series. Come back to this post when all three of those things have happened, and I guarantee you his card prices will be higher than they are today.
Washington Wizards SG Bradley Beal
Of course the ONE year Washington gets back to being a top-8 seed the NBA introduces the Play-In Tournament. That’s gotta be the most Wizards thing of all time. Either way, I believe Beal will lead the Wizards to a victory over the Pacers tonight and clinch the final playoff spot.
You could make the argument that Beal is in the conversation with James Harden as the best SG playing in the postseason, and the added drama of the Play-In Tournament will give him a unique opportunity to be in a standalone spotlight twice in a row. While I don’t expect Washington to make a deep postseason run, I do expect Beal to rise to the occasion and have a few memorable games.