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James Harden

Part 2 of the Collector’s Corner: NBA 2020-21 Preview takes a look at some of the NBA trading cards — past and present — you should be collecting.

We’re about a week into the 2020-21 NBA season, and it’s a good time to preview some of the possible breakouts – or just some big jumps from guys we already know about – in the trading cards market this year.

In this preview (Part 1 was a product review), we’ll look at some of players to target as they take the stage on the most marketable of courts in the NBA. I’ve included some links to eBay sales of the players I’m covering.

Trading Cards of Retired/HOF Legends

Tim Duncan – I heard there’s a debate raging online about whether Tim Duncan was a better player than Anthony Davis. While the book isn’t closed on AD, Duncan is in my Top 10 all-time NBA, and he might be Top 6 or 7, if we really want to get into the level of talent he faced and how competitive those Spurs teams were in the playoffs. Duncan’s trading cards are still undervalued. His Topps and Fleer rookies are way too cheap considering his significant NBA HOF legacy.

Shaquille O’NealShaq rookies, plentiful because they were produced in the early-to-mid 1990s, are easy to find sharp and some are worth buying raw to get graded. It’s a long wait right now at PSA, but Shaq remains in the spotlight as a pop icon and entertaining NBA analyst. Grabbing his cards won’t set you back a ton and locating his more valuable inserts from that era could be especially lucrative. I’ve linked to the most recent sold prices, but do a search for those same cards currently and if you see a deal.

Shaq’s Stadium Club rookies can be had for a few bucks each raw, and PSA 10s can be had for around $100 or so.

Trading Cards of Veterans

Kevin Durant – Durant won consecutive Finals MVPs before the devastating Achilles rupture in the 2019 NBA Finals, and he’s been off the radar for over a year. He’s got the length and sharpshooting ability to rebound well and he’s great buy right now as he tries to bring a title to Brooklyn.

Devin Booker/DeAndre Ayton – The addition of Chris Paul should improve the prospects of all the Suns players, from their veteran guards to third-year center Ayton. These are talented players who should see a bump in their production and trading card value.

More Veterans to Buy Low: Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis

These established players could have big years in 2020-21 and make their mark once again in the playoffs, when we can see huge jumps in prices after stellar performances.

Some Veterans to Sell: Jamal Murray, Anthony Davis, Aaron Gordon, Jimmy Butler, Hassan Whiteside

These guys see spikes in popularity after big games, but I’m not bullish on the long-term value of their cards – be it health, attitude, too much hype or just a limit on their popularity. Another get in, get out scenario where you can buy low and sell after a monster stat line or two.

More Developing Players

If we look at investing in developing NBA prospects like cash game vs. GPP, it might help in building realistic expectations and projections. GPP-investments can be the players who aren’t highly touted (represent more risky, long-term investments) but can be bought cheaply. Cash game types include established (or simply heavily hyped) players like Ja Morant, Rui Hachimura and Kevin Porter Jr.

Trading Card Cash buys

Jayson Tatum – It may seem weird to classify him as a “developing” player, but he apparently grew two more inches in the past summer – a little joke that got a bit out of hand once it hit the rumor mill. Seriously, though – Tatum may have grown a couple inches (from 6’8” to 6’10”) since he was first drafted in 2017, but the main thing that’s grown tremendously in that time is his game. He’s a more consistent shooter and much better defender, and his cards are still more affordable than some of the other superstars in the league.

Zion Williamson & Ja Morant – Zion still has some defensive issues handling true bigs in the post, but he’s an offensive superstar and there’s no telling the kind of stat lines he’ll post when his shot improves a bit. There’s not TONS of room for short term turnaround value, but like Amazon stock, he’s a grower. As for Ja – the ankle sprain appears to be a 3-5 week thing, so if you see his process drop in the coming weeks, pick up his stuff. You won’t regret it once he hits the floor again.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – The guy fills it up – a true talent with all the right tools to be a perennial All-Star, and he has solid work ethic and attitude. His rookie cards are still very affordable. His 2018 Silver Prizm rookie in a Gem Mint PSA 10 is selling for about $1,000 to $1,300, but you can buy the card raw for about $200-$300.

P.J. Washington – He’s seen increased playing time in the first three games of the new season, and he’s already got one double-double. His stuff is still pretty cheap and we could see a big jump soon.

Tyler Herro – He’s still a streaky performer who offers very little in the way of ancillary stats when the shots aren’t going down, but his cards are still selling well and he’s still “a bucket” – especially in crunch time. I doubt his trajectory will be one of steady growth – more a few jumps where you want to get in and get out – and do it all over again once it’s playoff time.

R.J. Barrett – Barrett is a talented offensive player who may have gone No. 1 in the 2020 draft, but his future is mired in New York with James Dolan’s Knicks for the time being. The good thing? Tom Thibodeau runs short rotations, so he’ll see plenty of court minutes to help fill up the scoring column this season.

R.J. and Rui could make some big steps forward in the 2020-21 season. Pictured here are their 2019-20 Court Kings Level 1 base rookie cards.

Trading Card GPP buys

Cameron Johnson – We’re just starting to se what he’s capable of at both ends of the floor. He’s a great shot and the addition of CP3 to this team can only help his chances at more exposure. A great long-term buy and still super cheap.

Kendrick Nunn – The Herro hype kind of killed some of the chatter about how good Nunn really is, but I think this guy might even be better than Nunn, especially when you consider how inexpensive his cards are right now. He’s still mired on the bench and seeing only 8-12 minutes in the full-strength Heat rotation, but injuries happen and so can hot streaks for young players who can score as well as Nunn.

More 2019-20 rookie cards to buy: Darius Bazley, Keldon johnson

Buy and stash: Talen Horton-Tucker, Dylan Windler

2020 Rookie Trading Cards I’m Buying

Anthony Edwards – There will be some inconsistent nights and stat lines but he’s in a decent spot for rookie production and he’s carrying the No. 1 pick status for another 11 months.

I covered the 2020-21 Prizm Draft Picks release last week. Pictured are the two base cards of Anthony Edwards — card #1 (L) and #41 (R)

James Wiseman – He’s going to be a frustrating player to own in DFS because he’s committing too many dumb fouls, but the upside is there and so is the playing time if he can stay on the floor.

Cole Anthony – Talent evaluators I trust really like him, and there’s a clear path to playing time for a PG with scoring upside. He’s already making the most of his minutes on the floor.

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NBA 2020 Offseason Preview

Ghost and Michael discuss NBA 2020 Offseason Preview! The trades that have already happened and ones we would love to see go down. Why does everyone hate LeBron? Where do Russ and Harden end up? We also check out the NBA Draft and discuss the top 3 picks included what does Golden State do with their #2 overall pick!

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In this column, I’ll highlight five NBA DFS 3/5 difference-making playsin GPPs, from studs with a huge upside to value plays who could hit 8x-10x.

These are risky plays who won’t always make the most sense forcash game builds, so buyer beware!

Tired of losing money on your NBA DFS and Sportsbook? Sign up today and become a winner whileturning your passion for sports into a second stream of income!

NBA DFS 3/5 — PG

Jamal Murray, DEN (@ CHA) – DK $6,800

Murray doesn’t have the best matchup on paper, but he’s got50-point upside at a price point where he’s affordable, so I’ll be building abunch of lineups with him as my PG. You can pivot to Shake Milton if you’refading the DEN-CHA game, and if you’re going to stack the LAC-HOU game, you canpunt PG with Patrick Beverley, who’s been struggling lately with theaftereffects of a groin injury that forced him to miss a handful of games inFebruary.  They’ll need him against the elitebackcourt of the Rockets on Thursday night. There’s plenty of question markssurrounding the PG position today, but Murray has a decent floor and Beverley shouldsee about 20-25 minutes (or more) tonight, and he’s dirt cheap on DK.

Pivot/Punt: Shake Milton/PatrickBeverley

NBA DFS 3/5 — SG

James Harden, HOU (vs. LAC) – DK $10,700

Harden ismatchup-proof and offers the highest ceiling of any player in the slate, so I’mlocking him in tonight. It’s been a while since he’s had an elite scoring nightand this is the highest game total of the night, so I can’t find a reason to fadehim. Lou Williams (PG/SG/G/UTIL) makes for a fine stacking option and could beforced into bigger minutes than his usual 25 or so.

Stack: Lou Williams

NBA DFS 3/5 — SF

Kawhi Leonard, LAC (@ HOU) – DK $9,300

I’ll have some shares of Paul George and Tobias Harris as well, but Kawhi should play four quarters tonight and log heavy minutes in this Western Conference battle. He’ll probably draw Robert Covington’s defense, but he really doesn’t need to score 30+ to post an elite fantasy total, as he’ll pick up plenty of rebounds/steals/assists and both teams can play small until the cows come home. The Raptors have a slew of injuries, but Norman Powell makes for a viable punt if he’s in the starting five and getting 35-40 minutes against a hapless Warriors squad.

Pivots: Paul George or Tobias Harris/Norman Powell

NBA DFS 3/5 — PF

Mike Scott, PHI (@ SAC) – DK $3,800

Scott has 8x to 10x upside whenhe sees 30+ minutes, so if he’s starting tonight against the Kings he’s worthdeploying as a high-ceiling punt. The Philly frontcourt is beyond depleted andwe’ve seen the big guy come up big in the past when given the opportunity. Oneof the Philly bigs (be it Al Horford or SF/PF Glenn Robinson) is going to havea huge game tonight, and Scott carries a lower risk than normal if he’s astarter. Daniel House is never any fun to play in DFS, but he’s a pivot option atthis price point.

Pivots: Al Horford or GlennRobinson/Daniel House

NBA DFS 3/5 — C

Nikola Jokic, DEN (@ CHA) – DK $9,500

He might be tough to fit with some of the other studs in this list, but if you’ve got room, Jokic is the only center offering a 60-point upside. Even if he plays just 25-30 minutes, he’s got a 50-point upside in this matchup. In GPPs, there’s a path or rostering Harden, Kawhi, and Jokic if you can find a few darlings in the $3-4K range, and there’s plenty of candidates. If you’d rather not spend up and you’ve got the stones, you can play P.J. Washington in a tough matchup.

Pivot: P.J. Washington

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In this column, I’ll highlight five NBA DFS 2/29 difference-makingplays in GPPs, from studs with a huge upside to value plays who could hit8x-10x.

These are risky plays who won’t always make the most sense forcash game builds, so buyer beware!

Tired of losing money on your NBA DFS and Sportsbook? Sign up today and become a winner whileturning your passion for sports into a second stream of income!

NBA DFS 2/29 — PG

James Harden, HOU (@ BOS) – DK $10,900

Harden reignited his rivalry with Giannis Antetokounmpo in a sit-down interview with Rachel Nichols and will be looking to back up his claims tonight in a highly anticipated Leap Year Special with the Celtics. The Bearded One is essentially matchup-proof and dropped 42 real-life points (and 67 DK points) against Boston on Feb. 11. It’s weird to say he could be overlooked, but there is a bunch of interesting SG plays today and we can sneak Harden in at PG – where he’s priced a little bit higher than Trae Young and has more consistent upside. I’ll probably build about half of my GPP lineups around Harden in anticipation of lower ownership than usual and very little chance of a blowout. Trae is a fine pivot against the Blazers, but my HOU-BOS game stacks won’t be using any of the PG-eligible Celtic guards.

Pivot: Trae Young

NBA DFS 2/29 — SG

C.J. McCollum, POR (@ ATL) – DK $9,200

I really don’t care that McCollum is $9,200, because he should be over $10K, especially in a matchup with the Hawks that could see another monster game total. McCollum’s usage with the current Portland starters is a whopping 34% and he’s scored 50 or more DK points in there of his last four – the one outlier being a 43.25 DK outing against the defensively-minded Pacers. As chief playmaker for this Portland team (which is fighting with a slew of other squads in the Western Conference to snag the last playoff spot), he’s going to have to bring it every night until Damian Lillard returns. I’m fading the likely popular DeMar DeRozan at $7,600 in a low-total game against the Magic that’s guaranteed to fall well short of last night’s madness from a pace perspective, but I don’t mind taking a crack at Bryn Forbes ($3,200) when he’s easily got 8x to 10x upside as one of the Spurs primary three-point shooters and getting about 20-25 minutes. The best non-punt value pivot is probably Jaylen Brown – who was nursing ankle injuries the last time Boston faced the Rockets and is expensive enough at $6,900 to ward off high ownership. Smart is cheaper but doesn’t have the same offensive upside.

Pivot/Punt: Jaylen Brown or MarcusSmart/Bryn Forbes

NBA DFS 2/29 — SF

Mikal Bridges, PHO (vs. GSW) – DK $5,200

With Kelly Oubre out for the year, Bridges (SG/SF/G/F/UTIL) has been seeing more minutes and draws a great matchup tonight against the Warriors – who struggle to defend 3&D wings like Mikal. Cam Johnson sustained an “upper-body” injury after a fall in last night’s contest that eaves him questionable for tonight’s matchup, so we could see Bridges play a bit more with the second unit as well. He’s a solid GPP option on a night where he might go overlooked and makes for a good bargain wing to include in your lineups. DraftKings lists very few SF-only players and I doubt Bridges will see much ownership with so many stud SGs (like Jimmy Butler and DeMar DeRozan) and PFs (Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward) eligible at SF. Bridges may not have a 50-point upside like those guys, but he’s got around a 45-point ceiling and his floor comes up with the new injury to Johnson. Cam Reddish has a great motor and has been playing well, so he’s a fine pivot for a few bucks less. If Andrew Wiggins actually plays tonight, he’d make a fine stacking option – though I’m a little worried about the game blowing out.

Pivot/Stack:Cam Reddish/Andrew Wiggins

NBA DFS 2/29 — PF

Carmelo Anthony, POR (@ ATL) – DK $5,700

Carmelo is another important part of Blazers-Hawks game stacks and should be a lot busier offensively than he was at Indiana two nights ago. He’s 9-for-21 from three-point range over his last four games, including the 0-for-0 in Thursday’s loss. Melo’s in a good spot against a team that gives up big fantasy points to versatile forwards, but I’ll be pivoting down a bit for some more value in quite a few builds to Kyle Kuzma at just $4,600. Kuzma has 8x to 10x upside in a possibly LeBron-less game against Memphis where he could see 30 minutes. Game stackers should consider De’Andre Hunter, who will be playing a lot of 4 against Melo. Anthony Davis is going to drawn higher ownership, but I have some concerns, so I’m fading him. At his price, I like other guys better and if he beats me, he beats me.

Pivot/Stack: Kyle Kuzma/De’Andre Hunter

NBA DFS 2/29 — C

Marquese Chriss, GSW (@ PHO) – DK $5,400

If we played a lot of the high-value options at guard and forward, we need to find some value at C, and I’m looking no further than Chriss, who was a dud against the dominant frontcourt the Lakers threw at him. The former “Marquese de Phoenix” (I just made that up) might put up a show against the weak defense played by the Suns’ bigs, so I’m embracing the inherent risk of him not getting more than 30 minutes and focusing on his 8x upside in just 25-30 minutes. He’s a great option in Suns-Warriors stacks along with Wiggins, and the best pivot in his price range is probably Myles Turner. One punt option that stands out is ATL power big Bruno Fernando, who’s just $3,500 on DK and has been playing minutes in the 20s now. He’s got 10x upside against a team that ranks low in defensive efficiency against big men. But I have no qualms about making Bam Adebayo your center. I’m done fading that guy and will be using him in lineups where I haven’t blown my salary on guards.

Spend/Pivot/Punt: Bam Adebayo/MylesTurner/Bruno Fernando

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