Joel Embiid rookie cards have skyrocketed amid MVP-worthy season
Even before he first stepped on the court, a lot of expectations have already been placed on the shoulders of Joel Embiid. After being chosen by the Philadelphia 76ers with the third-overall pick in the 2014 Draft, the seven-foot center from the University of Kansas spent his first two NBA seasons dealing with injuries.
That’s been among the main narratives of Embiid’s pro career. Embiid currently has the unshakeable reputation of an oft-injured player, whose potential to dominate is capped by his body’s questionable capability to last an entire season without getting seriously hurt. Embiid’s reputation as an injury-prone player always overtakes his amazing talent and the way he impacts the game on both ends of the floor.
This year is quite different for Embiid. With the season approaching its halfway point, the 76ers’ big man has been playing the best basketball of his career. He has led Philadephia to the top spot in the East with a 17-7 record. He is also leading his team in points, rebounds, and blocks.
Embiid’s MVP-like performance during the first half of this season has certainly pulled his value in the card market up. To fully understand why this is happening, it’s a must to see where Embiid came from and how his stock has risen from that point.
Before the 2020-21 NBA Season
For years, the 76ers have always found themselves on the cusp of success in the Eastern Conference. The presence of powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Toronto Raptors have always prevented Philadelphia from reaching the big stage of them all — the NBA Finals.
Even with the presence of Embiid and fellow All-Star Ben Simmons, the 76ers have always fallen short of contention. This point is very evident last season when the front office decided to let Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick go while handing out massive contracts to Tobias Harris and Al Horford.
These moves by Philadelphia’s front office essentially put a chokehold on the 76ers by reducing two key elements that have worked well before for the team — shooting and spacing. The addition of Horford into the starting lineup and Simmons’ inability to shoot threes limited Embiid on offense. As a result, the momentum gained during the 2018-19 season, when the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals, was lost because of a limiting roster.
The 76ers’ lackluster performance last season, especially their poor showing in the Bubble, severely affected Embiid’s value in the card market. His stock value plummeted, as evidenced by the $42 price tag his Prizm rookie card fetched last November 13, 2020. At that point last year, collectors are not that high on Embiid, with sellers outnumbering buyers in the market.
Joel Embiid’s MVP-Caliber Season
The Philadelphia 76ers’ season has been nothing short of impressive. They now own the best record in the East and are one of the top bets to represent the said conference in the Finals. Leading the way is Joel Embiid, who has established himself in the MVP conversation this year.
Throughout 19 games this season, Embiid is averaging 29.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 31.8 minutes per game. He’s also getting to the free-throw line more with 9.6 attempts per contest and an 85% success rate from the charity stripe. Furthermore, Embiid’s 8.2 box plus/minus score is the second-best in the league, with only Nikola Jokic ahead of him.
The effect on Joel Embiid’s rookie cards
With the Philadelphia 76ers surging through the competition on the back of Embiid’s MVP-caliber season, it only stands to reason that the big man’s stock will go along with the ride. A recent sale last February 08, 2021, showed that the same raw Embiid Prizm rookie card that fetched 42$ last year has been auctioned off for $150. Embiid’s value in the graded market isn’t a slouch either. Last February 07, 2021, a BGS 9.5 Joel Embiid Prizm RC was sold at $600.
As mentioned earlier, the season is just approaching its halfway point next month. As long as Embiid doesn’t sustain any injury or the 76ers’ performance as a team doesn’t fall off the cliff, the big man’s stock will steadily climb upward.
Of course, all hats are off if Embiid wins the MVP or Philadelphia reaches the Finals. In that case, his value will definitely zoom towards the stars. In any event, fans should be prepared for any outcome by getting Joel Embiid rookie cards at the first chance they get.
Joel Embiid signed a five-year extension with the Sixers back in 2017 which is worth $147.7 million. He will be a free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season.