With new products like 21-22 Hoops and 21-22 Donruss finally dropping for the current NBA season, we get our first chance to snag the new rookie class in their pro uniforms. But, some players’ futures already look a little brighter than others. These are my top 5 NBA rookie cards to buy this season.
Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
First up on my list is Evan Mobley. While the highly-touted 3rd overall pick out of USC has been poised to be an NBA player as early as the 11th grade, I am still impressed with his impact so far in his first season; he is probably my favorite player in this class. He’s already on the precipice of averaging a double-double at 14.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.6 apg.
The more I watch him, the more I see a young Kevin Garnett, and if that’s the case, then snagging a Mobley rookie card is the way to go. After Kevin Garnett’s first season, where he averaged a modest 10 points and 4 rebounds per game, he would break out the following season and become the perennial all-star we know and love. And if Evan Mobley is capable of following the same path, his rookie cards could be one of the most valuable of his class.
Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
I don’t know a bigger surprise in the Rookie of the Year conversation than Franz Wagner. The German big man who went 8th in the 2021 NBA Draft has hit the ground running with 15.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.7 apg. Also, he’s had a few great performances against the fully-loaded defending champions Milwaukee Bucks. He tallied 38 points and 7 rebounds against Milwaukee on December 28, and it only gave us a glimpse of what he can become. Since he’s not considered one of the more popular players in the class, investing in a Wagner rookie card could prove to be one of the better small risks, big rewards.
Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
Next up on the list is Houston Rockets guard, Jalen Green. Green is having a solid inaugural season so far, averaging 15.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.2 apg. Despite being sidelined for 14 games with a hamstring injury, he’s been able to come back strong and show flashes of a future star that many predict he will be. Green being a fan favorite in this class means that many people will be on the lookout for his rookie card.
Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
I feel like this list isn’t valid without the first overall pick, so next up is the Detroit Pistons’ Cade Cunningham. The 6’6″ point guard is averaging a balanced 15 ppg, 6 rpg, 5.3 apg this season, and so far, he’s everything we expected. Much like Green, he’s one of the more popular players in the draft, and with a superstar ceiling, this card will most definitely be one of the most sought after throughout the year.
Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
Last but not least is Jonathan Kuminga. Kuminga isn’t in the hunt for rookie of the year, and he’s had the most limited minutes of all the other players listed, but I think he has just as much upside as his contemporaries. This super athletic forward has been earning the trust of head coach Steve Kerr with solid play on both ends of the court. He’s also getting comparisons to the likes of Kawhi Leonard from some sportswriters. So, I fully support chasing a Kuminga rookie card early, as it could be one of the more rewarding pulls.
Ultimately, I’m a huge fan of this rookie class. They have a lot of staying power, and there are a handful of guys who could really break out and be special players for years to come. So, when you dive in on the Loupe app this year, keep your eyes open for these players, and I’m sure they would be valuable additions to your personal collections.