Well folks, it’s finally here. The final installment in a five-week series about cards worth collecting during the NBA Playoffs. So far I’ve given you 20 players around the league to target, but that journey is coming to an end. Worry not, as we have BIG things and plenty of hobby-related content in store here on the Loupe blog.
To close out this series, however, there are still five more players to discuss. As postseason storylines continue to play out, card values continue to shift as well. Out of all the blogs I’ve written I feel most confident about centers, so let’s get into it!
Golden State Warriors C James Wiseman
It’s a well-known fact that patience is a key trait for any card collector. Projecting future results is often just as (if not more) important than acting on previous trends. James Wiseman is a perfect example of this, which is why he’s my favorite buy and hold in the NBA right now.
The 2nd overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft has missed the last two months with a torn meniscus, and the Warriors were bounced in the inaugural Play-In Tournament. While the hobby community is largely cold on the 2020 draft class, I believe now is the time to stock up on a potentially generational big man. With a healthy Wiseman joining Steph Curry and a returning Klay Thompson, the Warriors will surely find themselves back in the Western Conference mix. Buy Wiseman during THIS postseason instead of waiting for his value to skyrocket at this time next year.
Miami Heat C Bam Adebayo
The second player on this list is another guy with a world of potential whose value has gone down of late. Bam Adebayo and the Heat were arguably the biggest disappointment of the Playoffs aside from the Lakers, leading many to call them a Bubble fraud. I personally believe it had more to do with the shortened offseason, and if there’s one team that can bounce back, it’s Pat Riley’s Miami Heat.
If this team is going to return to their 2020 form, Adebayo will be one of the main reasons why. Despite struggling against the Bucks, Bam actually had statistically his best season yet. With more time to rest after an early exit from the Playoffs, I believe Adebayo will come back with a chip on his shoulder and play some of the best basketball of his young career.
Philadelphia 76ers C Dwight Howard
The turnaround in Dwight Howard’s career is one of my favorite storylines in sports over the past few years. After essentially becoming a journeyman and many calling the former superstar washed for the better part of five years, Dwight bounced back in a MAJOR way. He played a major role on the 2020 Lakers and won his first championship, and now he’s an efficient contributor on the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The paragraph above is more than enough reason to stock up on his cards, but there are two more factors I’m considering that have me even more excited to collect him. One, I’m a firm believer that having graded rookies of all time greats will almost always pay off in the long run, and Howard is absolutely one of those players who will be appreciated more after he retires. Two, if Joel Embiid misses any more time, who else is getting those minutes? Even when Philadelphia goes with a smaller lineup Dwight would get AT LEAST 15 minutes a game, and it’s tougher to trot out a small starting 5 against Atlanta with Clint Capela on the other side. To me, Dwight Howard is a safe buy that will have all the opportunity in the world to cement his legacy this postseason.
Phoenix Suns C Deandre Ayton
I’m all in on the 2021 Phoenix Suns. I’ve already told you to collect Chris Paul and Devin Booker, and that was BEFORE they knocked off the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Of all their players, however, I might be highest on collecting Deandre Ayton.
Being that it’s one of the most talented positions in the NBA, Ayton wasn’t the first center you were tuning in for when the Playoffs tipped off. The aforementioned Joel Embiid and the soon-to-be-mentioned Nikola Jokic (insert eyeball emoji) were obviously the headliners, but Ayton is quickly becoming appointment viewing. PSA 10 Prizm rookies of Ayton are sitting at less than $100, which seems incredibly low for the ceiling this guy has. If Ayton and the Suns capitalize on their 2-0 series lead and knock off Jokic and the Nuggets, I don’t think those cards are sitting that low anymore.
Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic
I’m really going out on a limb here telling you all to collect the reigning MVP! Jokic had a career year and cemented himself as one of the best players the league has to offer, so buying his cards is a no brainer. However, the timing can be the difference between finding optimal value and unnecessarily buying closer to his peak.
Right now is about the worst time you can buy, as Jokic was just named the MVP and the Nuggets are still alive in the Playoffs. If the first two games of the series are any indication, however, Denver’s postseason run will end at the hands of the Suns. Monitor the market, have a desired price in mind, and strike when the MVP hype wears off and people turn their attention to the NBA Finals.