On a recent episode of the Sports Card Strategy Show, Kendall McKee and I talked about Bankroll Management in Sports Card Investing, and breaking down your investment spend into three categories: Heroes, GOATS and Fliers.
Heroes being regional or local greats. Think Kirby Puckett, Shawn Kemp and Calvin Johnson. GOATS are more obvious, like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and Mike Trout.
Then, there are the fliers. Our Sports Card Investment Report features some more established fliers, but this article focuses on some NBA Players that are like true dirt cheap penny stocks to put on your radar - whether for investment purposes, or just for fun. If you are buying these guys, however, make sure to pick up their rookie autos, as any base cards likely won’t increase in value, but rookie autos should - as they perform.
The following player analysis was contributed by Ryan Hoffman.
Below is a Top Ten List of current NBA players who are considered 'flier' candidates in the sports card industry. The focus of this list is a consideration of young players from non-playoff teams that should see an uptick in minutes and value the rest of the season.
DARIUS BAZLEY – Age 21 (THUNDER)
In his 3rd NBA season, has seen his playing time drop a bit this year, and has come off the bench quite a bit more. Last season Bazley started all 55 games in which he played. This season he has started 37 of 53. Things are turning in Bazley’s favor recently however, having started the past 8 games. His February minutes are up to 34/game vs 23/game in January. OKC is buried in the standings and Bazley is part of the future. His FG % is putrid, but there will be no shortage of minutes for Bazley the rest of the season. Buy low!
ALPEREN SENGUIN – Age 19 (ROCKETS)
You typically might not find a lot of value with rookies since most investors gobble them up pretty quick, but Senguin is playing less than 20mpg on one of the worst teams in basketball. You have to believe he gets closer to 30mpg the rest of the season. His per-36 averages are silly! Go get him!
DEVIN VASSELL – Age 21 (SPURS)
The 11th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Vassell's time has come. The Spurs traded Derrick White at the deadline and Vassell has started all 4 games since. I'm really high on Vassell, and with him being a key part of the Spurs future, I only see his stock rising. He will surely be getting 30+ mpg most nights the rest of the season.
HERBERT JONES – Age 23 (PELICANS)
How many 2nd round picks start the majority of their games in their rookie season? Herbert Jones has done just that starting 47 of the Pelicans first 56 games. He is actually an old rookie at 23yrs old. We have no idea what his game will look like once Zion returns, but let’s go under the assumption Zion doesn’t return this year. Jones should continue to see minutes north of 30 the rest of the season.
JALEN SMITH – Age 21 (PACERS)
Recently acquired at the trade deadline, Jalen Smith moves over from the Suns where he had been playing just 13mpg. In the 4 games since his move to the Pacers, he's already averaging 21mpg and all key metrics have risen to 12ppg and 4.8rpg. The 10th pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, Smith is just shy of turning 22 years old. Maybe the Pacers are trying to use the Cavaliers blueprint of loading up on big-man talent. When all are healthy Smith will have to compete with the likes of Isaiah Jackson, Goga Bitadze, and Oshae Brissett for playing time. One knock on Smith is he can find himself in foul trouble pretty easily, so if he can harness his energy, more playing time will follow.
ISAIAH JACKSON – Age 20 (PACERS)
Another Pacers big man on the list. Jackson is a 2021 1st round pick out of Kentucky, and we all know the Kentucky blood lines in the NBA. The trade of Sabonis has opened up playing time, and his 1st NBA start did not disappoint (26pts, 10reb, 2blks). Unfortunately he went down with an ankle injury :22 seconds into his next start. We'll likely see a lot of Jackson the rest of the season assuming he stays healthy. A nice buy-low candidate.
ISAIAH STEWART – Age 20 (PISTONS)
Through 118 games in his career, Stewart is best known for his scrap with Lebron. Something tells me he’ll be able to have a few more positive moments in his career. In his 2nd season Stewart has started all 50 games for this Pistons indicating he is a key part of their future. Pistons are firmly in rebuilding mode and will give their 2020 1st round pick all he can handle in the 2nd half of the season.
DANIEL GAFFORD – Age 23 (WIZARDS)
At 23 years old Gafford was the starting center for the first 45 games he played this season. However, his minutes have been on the decline since mid-January and he was taken out of the rotation for a game on January 29th. He was then placed in Health and Safety protocols on February 6. Now, he is finally ready to return, and with the Wizards shipping out Montrezl Harrell, things have opened up nicely for Gafford to see a ton of playing time the rest of this season, boosting his stock.
JAXSON HAYES – Age 21 (PELICANS)
The Pels are technically in the hunt for the Western Conf play-in tournament so I don’t want to officially call it a lost season yet. This ‘buy-low’ suggestion comes with a few caveats. One being the Pelicans mail it in at some point. The other being Zion doesn’t return this season. If both of those happen, Hayes could approach high 20s mpg.
MARVIN BAGLEY III – Age 22 (PISTONS)
Although I'm not super high on Bagley given his uninspiring time in SAC, this is more of a dart throw in hopes a change of scenery unlocks his potential.
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