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Early Risers in the NBA

When I look at the numbers, there are several names that surprise me.

With the Chicago Spectacular Show coming up in less than a month, I am looking to invest in some guys outside the normal elite. Here's a list I have come up with through 5 games of this season.

The Usuals

Of course, there are some players at the top that we expected to be at the top.

Stephen Curry, Ja Morant, and Kevin Durant go 1-2-3 on the Points/Game list. I am excited because we have been focusing on investing in those three (and Giannis). That stat is the one that will always make headlines. Cards never jump in value because someone gets a lot of steals or assists. But basketball is a team game, and when their is hype around a team (especially with a big market), everyone on that team could see a bump in their card value. The Bulls, Knicks, and Heat are all in that boat right now. Investing in anyone from those teams will be wise right now. A few of those players will be highlighted in my list.

- Lonzo Ball has always carried value in the card world because of the hype of his family and the fact that he was the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He is one of the most talented passers in the league and can score with some consistency. LA wasn't the best fit when LeBron showed up. I would have loved to see him stay in NOLA with Zion, but I understand that the money didn't make sense. He's now in a big market again, and the Bulls are off to a 4-1 start. To be fair, their first 4 games were against teams that are combined 4-12 (they have played 0-4 Detroit twice). They lost by 1 point to the 4-1 Knicks, where Lonzo had his worst game. However, before that game, Ball was shooting 43% from behind the arc. Only 3 others have done better when shooting 7+ three-pointers per game. He's already notched a Triple-Double this year, and the new trio in Chicago is selling tickets well. I expect Lonzo will bounce back from that rough game against the Knicks and continue to show why he deserves to have his name next to his brother's. I will be watching tonight as the Bulls take on the 4-0 Jazz.

- Julius Randle is a superstar. The Knicks had been under water for 7 years and Randle hadn't really made waves anywhere else he had played, so I understand why there was not a huge buzz when he made his way to New York in 2019. He was pretty average in that first season with the Knicks, but he has hit a stride with his young teammates. He led the Knicks to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. They got bounced in the first round by the Hawks, who gave the NBA Championship Bucks a run in the Eastern Conference Finals. That might not sound like a rising story, but when you consider that the New York Knicks are the #1 Sports Market in all of sports, it brings a different perspective. The Knicks are back, and card values are going to rise according to the Knicks fanbase waking up to the headlines of their team winning again and again.

- Harrison Barnes is in his 10th season in the NBA and plays for the Sacramento Kings. Why in the world is he on this list? Honestly, I couldn't believe he made my list either. The 29 year old is 5th in the league with minutes per game (tied with 26 yr old Julius Randle). He is one of those three guys that are hitting a higher 3 point percentage than Lonzo was - in fact, he is #1 in that category. Shooting 7.2 three-pointers per game, Barnes is hitting 52.8% of them. That is insane. He is 12th in the league in points/game (25 p/g) and 16th in rebounds/game (10.4 r/g) -averaging a double-double. He has led the Kings to a modest 3-2, BUT their only two losses have been to Golden State (4-1) and Utah (4-0). The Kings have also beaten the Suns and Trail Blazers. Can Harrison Barnes keep this up all season? I don't know, but his cards are extremely affordable right now, so I may dabble.

- Anthony Edwards lived in the shadow of LaMelo Ball last season. Truly, that is to Lamelo's credit for an incredible rookie season. Edwards did well, too, averaging 19 points per game, shooting 32.9% from behind the arc. This year, he is off to a hotter start, averaging 25 per game and shooting 36.6% with the three ball. Minnesota was one of the worst teams in the league last year (and that's where they've been for a while). However, they have Karl Anthony-Towns, who is a dominant force in the NBA. They have been cycling through several young guys to find the Robin to their KATman. Anthony Edwards fits that bill perfectly. Hitting their stride through the first 4 games of this season, the Timberwolves are 3-1 and rank 3rd in the West. They just beat the reigning champions 113-108. Edwards' skill as a posterizing dunker will keep him in the spotlight throughout his career. When I look at his current card value, I believe there is a lot of room to invest. The new ownership of the Minnesota Timberwolves is sure to lead to the organization to better places, and the KAT - Ant Man connection is only going to get stronger.

I'm excited to see how that due manages the talented Nuggets tonight.

- Miles Bridges is #1 on this list. He wants to dunk on your soul. He is averaging 25.5 points per game (9th in the NBA) and is 5 rebounds away from having 4 double doubles through the Hornets' first six games. LaMelo Ball is going to keep the Hornets relevant in the East, and Mikal Bridges is going to be catching lobs over superstars all season long. Stephen A Smith has pointed to Bridges as being one of the most talented dunkers we have seen. He could be a Slam Dunk Contest participator with the hype he is currently generating. His cards are starting to rise, but are still super affordable. If you have any Prizm parallels, definitely hit us up on Instagram or Facebook - we are buying.

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