There was no telling where the Philadelphia 76ers would end up during the start of the season. The drama surrounding Ben Simmons robbed them of their best bet on defense and playmaking. Fortunately, second-year guard Tyrese Maxey stepped up and made sure the backcourt is in good hands. But more importantly, it’s a healthy MVP-level Joel Embiid that’s making a big difference. It’s also making his rookie cards soar in the market.
With the Simmons saga in Philadelphia done, the arrival of James Harden has strengthened their chances to make the NBA Finals. We take a look below at how the new-look 76ers are doing so far and their impact on Embiid’s rookie card stock.
The outlook on Joel Embiid and the 76ers with James Harden in it
It’s pretty easy to overlook the 76ers as the season started. For starters, there was no clear indication Simmons will play for them while other teams in the East made their rosters stronger. The Miami Heat acquired Kyle Lowry, the Chicago Bulls welcomed DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, and the Milwaukee Bucks retained most of their championship core. On the other hand, Philadelphia was counting on Joel Embiid to play well on both ends of the court to keep his team alive.
Even with the absence of Simmons, an elite defender and playmaker, the 76ers were able to count on Maxey to keep their backcourt functional. But it isn’t the sophomore guard who’s keeping Philadelphia alive. Without a doubt, it’s their franchise player, Joel Embiid.
In the 51 games he played last season, most of them with Simmons, the All-Star center averaged 28.5 points on 51% shooting from the field, 37 from beyond the arc, and 85% from the free throw line. During those contests, Embiid was also contributing 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 blocks, and a single steal per game. While those numbers seem impressive, they weren’t enough to get them past the Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks during the playoffs. This season, though, is a different story altogether.
In 48 games, The Process has upped his stats to a league-leading 29.8 points per game while grabbing 11.1 rebounds, dishing 4.4 assists, making a single steal, and blocking 1.4 shots. His 7.6 offensive and 2.3 defensive box scores are also placing Embiid in the upper tier of stars this season. All of these numbers clearly show that Embiid’s dominance on both ends of the court is showing and it has led the 76ers to the third seed in the East with a 37-23 record.
The scary thing here is that Embiid has accomplished these things, not only without Simmons, but without Harden for the majority of these games. With the Beard present for the rest of the season, the outlook on Philadelphia is certainly looking good.
In just a couple of games, a lineup of Embiid, Harden, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, and Matisse Thybulle already boasts a +38.9 points minus the opposing squad’s score. In comparison, the 76ers’ previous five-man lineup of Seth Curry, Embiid, Harris, Maxey, and Georges Niang had +28.6. This means that a lineup that has both Embiid and Harden is deadlier on the offensive end of the court.
The arrival of Harden and Embiid’s MVP-worthy performance this season are strengthening the 76ers case to top the East, and even potentially win their first ring in decades. As the postseason draws nearer, more and more eyes will not just be primarily on the Beard. They’ll be on Embiid and how well he plays the remaining games and into the playoffs. In the event he continues his great momentum, the primary beneficiary in the market are those Joel Embiid rookie cards.
The state of Joel Embiid rookie cards
As it’s the case in the hobby, big men are usually less-preferred than explosive guards and high-scoring wings in the NBA. That doesn’t seem to work in Embiid’s case.
In a three-month graph by Card Ladder, Embiid’s PSA 10 base Prizm rookie card has been on a rampage. From its starting price of $212 late last year, it has gone up to $454. That’s a 114% increase during that period with 38 confirmed sales. When you check these numbers, the value of this particular Joel Embiid card has more than doubled.
Along with the base, Embiid’s PSA 10 Prizm Silver rookie card is also on the rise. In another graph from Card Ladder covering the past three months, the card’s price has gone up from $1,700 to $2,900. This is a 70% boost from its starting price.
Just by looking at both these cards and the value they’re pulling in the market, it’s safe to say that Embiid’s MVP-worthy season is having a good effect on his stock. Needless to say, it can still go higher if the 76ers finish the regular season with the Beard on a high note.
The verdict on Joel Embiid rookie cards
It’s not impossible for the 76ers to make a deep playoff run and potentially represent the East in the NBA Finals. After almost reaching that goal a few years ago, no thanks to a Kawhi Leonard corner 3, the chances of Philadelphia making it is stronger than ever with Embiid and Harden leading the way.
As shown by the price increase of Joel Embiid rookie cards, the hobby is definitely reacting in a positive manner to the All-Star center’s impressive showing this season. The arrival of Harden, and the recent results of his presence, are also placing more positive hype on The Process’ stock in the card market. But of course, the two main factors to look at are Embiid’s MVP case and the 76ers chances of winning the title.
If Embiid lands the prestigious award and leads his team to their first title in decades, his rookie cards will blow off. On the other hand, collectors can expect his prices to go down if the 76ers fail to get past the second round or if the All-Star’s postseason performance will leave a lot to be desired.
In any case, selling those Joel Embiid rookie cards while they’re high isn’t a bad idea at all. If not, collectors can place their bets on the big man winning MVP or the title to get the most out of his rookie stock.