Every year, there are bound to be several rookies who would find themselves on the biggest stage of them all in the NBA – the playoffs. In years past, we’ve seen the likes of Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, and Dwayne Wade make an immediate impact on the postseason even during their first year in the league. Now, there’s a chance Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors and other first-year players can join this elite club and improve their NBA card stock at the same time.
We take a look down below at which of these rookies are primed for a playoff boost in the card market after their respective teams made it past the regular season.
Bones Hyland rookie cards
Without a doubt, Nikola Jokic’s performance this season has been incredible. In a squad that’s missing its two key pieces in Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., the Joker has managed to lift the Denver Nuggets on his back and drag them all the way to the playoffs.
But while the absence of Murray and Porter has been a detriment for Mile High City, it has opened up opportunities for Bones Hyland to make his name known in the NBA. In 69 games this season, four of which he started for the Nuggets, the rookie guard has averaged 10.1 points on 40/36/85 shooting splits while making 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 19 minutes per contest. Although those numbers don’t seem to pop out, it’s his ability to score from deep, which is his main calling card, and his average per 36 minutes that are telling a different story.
For the latter, Hyland is projected to average 19.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.1 steals if given the chance to play around 36 minutes per game, or as a starting guard for Denver. This is a possibility, especially if one of their starters gets injured and the rookie is called upon to step up. If that happens and he gets to exceed expectations, NBA card collectors can expect those Bones Hyland rookie cards in the market to get a boost up.
Ayo Dosunmu rookie cards
Although the Chicago Bulls started the regular season strong, they’re now going head-to-head against the defending champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. With Lonzo Ball out for the season, Windy City’s chances of getting past this Giannis Antetokounmpo-led squad look slim. Fortunately, the emergence of one Ayo Dosunmu is helping even the odds for the Bulls.
On paper, Ball’s ability to create plays for his teammates while providing credible defense has been crucially missed by Chicago. But even without him in the lineup, Dosunmu is learning how to fill in the void faster than expected. In the 41 games he has played since Ball went out, 38 of which as a starter, the rookie averaged 11 points on efficient shooting splits of 52/35/75 while adding 3.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest.
Based from those numbers alone, Bulls fans will expect Dosunmu to steady Chicago’s offense while Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan provide all the buckets. If he manages to keep cool against all the pressure Milwaukee can throw at him, collectors will see his rookie NBA cards get more attention in the market.
Jonathan Kuminga rookie cards
It’s pretty hard to imagine the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green getting older. But even if they all exit their primes in the coming years, fans of the Golden State Warriors can expect their young stars to step up and fill in the potential absence left by these veterans. Of course, among these guys is no other than Jonathan Kuminga.
As mentioned earlier, the age of Golden State’s stars makes them more susceptible to wear, tear, or worse, a serious injury that can be sustained during the playoffs. This is where Kuminga’s value comes in. The rookie’s length, motor, and athleticism can be used to great effect on both ends of the court. If Green or other wings need to rest or get hurt, Warriors’ fans can count on the seventh pick from the draft to provide quality defense or make sure the Warriors aren’t lagging behind on offense.
At the same time, Jonathan Kuminga’s value in the market isn’t as hyped or expensive as his other contemporaries, such as Evan Mobley or Cade Cunningham rookie cards. This makes sense for NBA card collectors to ride on the Kuminga train as there is every chance for the first-year wing to explode in the postseason.
Scottie Barnes rookie cards
Scottie Barnes is, without a doubt, the hottest rookie during this year’s playoffs. In 74 games during the regular season, the 6’9″ wing provided 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest for the Toronto Raptors. In turn, this helped the squad defy expectations and make it back to the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
In Barnes’s playoff debut against the Philadelphia 76ers, the rookie notched 15 points on 66% shooting from the field, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and a single block in 32 minutes. This performance proved that the rookie can perform on a high level, especially against a squad that boasts Joel Embiid and James Harden on it.
Unfortunately, his playoff debut was cut short when Embiid accidentally injured Barnes’ ankle, causing it to roll. Although the X-Ray results came out negative, he is still expected to miss some games due to the ankle sprain. Nevertheless, his performance against the Sixers, even though it was a very limited one, gave everyone a satisfying look into his potential, both on the court and in the NBA card market.
With the first round of the playoffs well on its way, there’ll surely be a lot of chances for these guys to show off and gain some new collectors in the hobby. Better keep an eye out for these guys and see what they can actually do on the court.