An NBA card collector would always look at the potential of a player before investing in his cards. If that player displays consistency on the court, no matter how many minutes he gets, you can be sure fans would slowly build a following around him and his cards.
One good example among card enthusiasts is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The third-year player was picked out of the Top 10 by the Los Angeles Clippers. A year later, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and quickly developed under the tutelage of Chris Paul. Now, he serves as the Thunder’s main piece as they prepare for a bright future ahead. Because of his steady improvement, people have taken notice by driving his card value up.
But not every player is in the same boat as SGA. There are some in the league that showed a bright promise not only to basketball fans, but also to card collectors. Some of these players dominated college basketball but fared poorly in the NBA, while others haven’t adapted enough to help their team become contenders. As a result, their cards are in danger of losing more value if they continue to trend downwards.
Shown below are four of the NBA players you need to drop right now while you can still get something out of them.
4. Kelly Oubre Jr.
Most NBA fans had looked at Kelly Oubre Jr. as an able replacement for Klay Thompson and a competent partner to Stephen Curry in the backcourt. There were expectations that the veteran wing would contribute on both ends of the floor and help bring Golden State back to its championship form. Sadly, that’s not happening right now with the Warriors.
In the 12 games he played for Golden State, Tsunami Papi has exhibited a box plus/minus score of -6.3, the worst of his seven-year career.
His offense, especially his performance from beyond the arc, has plummeted this season. This is bad because the opposing defenses constantly zero in on Curry, leaving his teammates wide open. If Oubre can’t be counted on to get buckets on his own, Golden State will have a harder time scoring. When that happens, there’s nowhere for Oubre's NBA cards to go but down.
Marvin Bagley III has a lot of things that aren’t exactly going for him. For one, a lot of fans will forever look at him as the unfortunate pick that went before generational talents such as Luka Doncic and Trae Young, in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Second, he’s injury prone and has legs made of glass, causing him to miss a good chunk of his rookie and sophomore seasons. Third, Bagley is right at the bottom of his class with horrible offensive and defensive box plus/minus scores this season. There’s also some drama on Twitter caused by his father, further downgrading his stock among collectors.
All of these things come together to deplete the big man’s potential and his card prices. Take a look around and you’ll most likely see a fan unloading their Bagley collection on eBay. This isn’t a surprise and it serves as a warning to those who want to get his NBA cards. It’s wiser to invest in his teammates, like De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton, than spend money on this third-year player.
Gone are the days when Russell Westbrook alone can carry a team into contention. These days, he takes too many bad shots and doesn’t even defend that well on a Washington team that can’t even guard a parked car. A recent quad injury isn’t helping his case and card value either.
His continued absence and declining performance are not doing his NBA cards any favor. The optimism fans had when Westbrook was traded to the Wizards is all but gone now. His cards in a Rockets uniform are just mere fodder right now and don’t hold much value. If you’re holding his cards right now, better dispose of them at a loss while you still can. At least, you’re still getting something to fund your next investment.
1. D’Angelo Russell
A lot of people had high hopes when D’Angelo Russell was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves last season. His playmaking and offensive upside, coupled with Karl Anthony-Towns, had a lot of fans excited for their squad. Add the inclusion of Anthony Edwards into the lineup and you’ve got an NBA team that has the potential to reach the playoffs and make a deep run.
…Or so we thought.
All of those things stated above haven’t become a reality. Although the season is still young, there is no clear-cut sign that the Timberwolves can at least reach the eight spot, especially in a conference dominated by the likes of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic and Devin Booker. Even if D-Lo balls out every night, his contributions on the defensive side–or the lack of thereof–will always keep him back from reaching his true potential. It’s better to steer clear of his NBA cards and be on the lookout for more promising talent.
At the end of the day, we’re still very early in the season. Things can still change, but at this point, it’s wiser to invest in better players that can deliver more bang for the buck. Meanwhile, it’ll be good to stray far away from the players above for the time being.