The 2022-23 NBA season is still a couple of months away. Even so, the best time to splurge on NBA cards is during the offseason, a period where there’s really not much to speculate on. In this case, there are a few guys who are can surprise collectors when the league opens up soon. Of course, Jalen Brunson is among those players as the New York Knicks signed him to a massive deal recently. Apart from the rising point guard, there are a couple of names that should be on everyone’s radar.
Jalen Brunson and 4 low-key players that can blow the NBA card market up next season
5. Tyrese Haliburton
Just before the trade deadline ended last season, the Sacramento Kings traded Tyrese Haliburton, along with other players and a draft pick, to the Indiana Pacers for a package headlined by Domantas Sabonis. As expected, the move was criticized by some due to the higher ceiling Haliburton has as compared to Sabonis. Turns out, that ceiling is already very evident in the half season he played for the Pacers.
In 26 games as a Pacer, Haliburton averaged 17.5 points on 50% shooting from the field, 41% from downtown, and 85% from the free throw line. The guard also added 4.3 rebounds, 9.6 assists, and 1.8 steals in 36.1 minutes per contest for Indiana.
The key factor that makes Haliburton an undervalued guy who can explode soon is how he’s shaping up to be the Pacers’ potential franchise player. With a full season ahead, there’s a good chance he can increase his points per game while maintaining his impressive contributions on playmaking and defense. If he does, expect those Tyrese Haliburton rookie cards to spike up hard.
4. RJ Barrett
It’s unfortunate that RJ Barrett has to live in the shadow of Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, the top two picks from the same class he was drafted from. It also doesn’t look good when Barrett’s other peers, such as Jordan Poole and Darius Garland, have taken a leap during the past season.
While all of those things are true, what cannot be denied is that Barrett made a leap almost no one noticed recently. In the 70 games he played for the New York Knicks last season, the Maple Mamba averaged 20 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3 assists per contest. And even though, the Knicks regressed from how they performed during the 2020-21 season, Barrett quietly improved his game and looks ready to take another leap.
This is very possible now that Jalen Brunson is in New York to handle the backcourt. His presence can open up more opportunities for Barrett and unlock his true potential. If things go well for the Knicks, expect Barrett’s NBA cards to go up in value.
3. Michael Porter Jr.
It might be hard to believe that Michael Porter Jr. was once touted as the better prospect than Luka Doncic or Trae Young before all three were drafted in 2018. Even if that’s not the case anymore, MPJ has all the tools and skills to become one of the NBA’s best offensive players, similar to how Kevin Durant plays.
Unfortunately, the Denver Nuggets’ star hasn’t been able to reach this full potential due to injuries. But after a full season of recovery, Porter can have his shot and prove how deadly he can be on the offensive end. When the season opens and he gets to show his shot-creation skills from all three levels of the court, expect the Nuggets to rise up in the West, especially if Jamal Murray returns to form too. If the young forward gets to score at least 20 per night and Denver ends up in the top three, those Michael Porter Jr. rookie cards will be valued more in the market.
2. Dejounte Murray
A good way to increase a guy’s stock in the NBA card market is to get traded to a contender, much like what happened to Dejounte Murray who’s now playing for the Atlanta Hawks. While the San Antonio Spurs are among the few franchises that can command respect from any collector, their current state isn’t enough to help Murray reach his next level. Fortunately, his new role in Atlanta can have him ascending to new heights.
Just last season, Murray took the All-Star leap and averaged 21.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and led the league by notching 2 steals per game. His skillset is the ideal match for the Hawks as he gives Young an able backcourt partner who can defend, make plays, and create his own shot, among others.
With him in the lineup, Young can focus more on offense and the whole team can go the extra mile with the former Spur around. That’s why it isn’t hard to imagine how he can rise up in the market when the new season starts.
1. Jalen Brunson
When Luka Doncic got injured before the Dallas Mavericks faced the Utah Jazz in the first round, everyone thought they were done for. Turns out, Jalen Brunson had something to say about that as he averaged 27.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists during that series. His performance against the Jazz served as Brunson’s coming-out party after quietly playing well in the background.
Now that the smoke has cleared and he’s now in New York, NBA card collectors can expect Brunson’s stock to get more attention in the market. With the starting guard role in the bag, the former Maverick will get all the minutes he needs to take a leap. And with a massive market in the Big Apple, the spotlight will surely shine on the guard and his rookie cards. That’s perfect too since those Jalen Brunson rookie cards are still undervalued.
Like Brunson, the other guys on this list are flying below the radar in the hobby. With the right opportunity, they can surprise everyone and make their card stocks soar through the sky in the coming season.