More often than not, you’d always see high-lottery picks getting all the minutes. With higher expectations to start, they have a greater spotlight on them early on. Their NBA rookie cards start off with some decent value before they even make their first step on an NBA floor.
But these five guys had to take a different path. What’s great about them is that no one gave them much thought when they entered the league undrafted. By some fortunate twist of fate, these players have shown people what they can do when given the chance.
Although these guys didn’t generate much buzz via the draft, they still have the potential to garner hefty prices when it comes to their NBA cards. With less fanfare to begin their careers, their rookie cards would most likely be limited therefore upping the value through scarcity.
Take a look at these five undrafted players and see why they’re worth your time and money to invest in.
Who would’ve thought that someone like Duncan Robinson would be considered as one of the deadliest threats from beyond the arc? With just only three seasons under his belt, Robinson has now transformed as one of Miami’s key players and a nightly generator of splashes from the perimeter.
He holds the distinction of being the fastest player to make 300 three-point shots in just 95 games with a 43% career rate from downtown. Not bad for a Division III player no one wanted on draft night. If he continues doing so at this rate, his cards will eventually heat up among collectors.
Christian Wood entered the league with the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2015-16 season. After five years and several stints in the G-League, he finally got the chance to play substantial minutes when Detroit traded Andre Drummond to the Cavaliers. What followed then is a series of games wherein he was finally let loose and showed the whole world what he can do.
Wood’s arrival last season garnered him a lucrative three-year $41 million contract from the Houston Rockets. He then rewarded the organization’s trust in him by averaging 22.6 points and almost 10 rebounds through 10 games this season. His compelling narrative and on-court performance will be reason enough for fans to hunt his cards, especially those that feature Wood in a Rockets uniform.
The departure of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka has left the Toronto Raptors’ frontcourt almost depleted. Even with the addition of Aron Baynes, the team from up north has been far from their championship-form a few years ago. But the team’s misfortune has been a boon for Chris Boucher, an undrafted player who entered the league as a Warrior during the 2017-18 season.
This season has been a different story altogether for Boucher. The center has raised his scoring average from 6.6 points a game to 14.3. He also rebounds well and averages two blocks per contest this season. And just last January 02, he went off on New Orleans and scored a season-high 24 points against them.
As of now, Boucher is coming off the bench with Baynes starting for Toronto in the center position. With the way he’s playing, Nick Nurse will eventually give him the keys and start in no time at all. In that event, you can be sure his NBA cards will increase, especially if Toronto gets its old form back and compete for a top position in the East.
Take a look back at the 2019-20 regular season and you’ll see Kendrick Nunn’s imprint all over it. He received a chance back then to handle the Heat’s offense as its starting point guard for all 67 games. Nunn rewarded their trust by providing solid offense and creating plays for his teammates. Although he was supplanted by Goran Dragic during their playoff run, Nunn was still able to showcase his versatility and skills.
Of course, this season is very different for the Chicago native because of his lack of playing time for Miami. As a result, Nunn’s card prices have declined a little bit. But if you look on the bright side, that means now is the best time to get his NBA cards while they’re still low. With Goran Dragic getting long in the tooth, Nunn will get his opportunity. It’s only a matter of time before this All-Rookie First Team player gets to show his worth on the court again, which would greatly boost his stock.
Last on our list is the most accomplished undrafted player in recent NBA history – Fred VanVleet. Looking at what he has done, it’s hard to believe no one picked him during the 2016 Draft. Instead of playing for the G-League, VanVleet bet on himself and earned a spot on Toronto’s roster. Even though he was way deep into the rotation, VanVleet fought his way and proved himself to be a vital cog for the Raptors, which would eventually lead to their first championship in 2018.
Now, VanVleet is cashing all of his hard work in before the start of this season. He has opted to remain in Toronto with a four-year $58 million contract, a huge deal for a player everyone passed on a couple of years ago. And even though the Raptors aren’t living up to their expectations, there’s still a huge chance for them to return to their championship form as the season progresses. This will help increase VanVleet’s prices and make him enticing again to collectors.
As always, the wisest course of action is to keep an eye on these players and how their NBA cards are playing out in the market. Keep in mind that it’s best to buy them low so you can get the maximum value out of these outstanding undrafted players.
They’re also living evidence that there could be diamonds in the rough, even outside the NBA lottery. Keeping an eye out for the next undrafted star is probably a good idea before their cards blow up.