Top 5 NBA Autographs UNDER 25! Including a Sleeper Pick...
June 10, 20218 min read
So the NBA season is returning in July and they are doing a weird little playoff system. They're gonna be having like eight regular season games and of course they're gonna be going into their playoffs and there are a lot of young superstars that are gonna be in these playoffs. So it got me thinking, what would be the top five autographs of players under the age of 25, that I personally would be investing in? So this is 25 and under for the end of the year, 2020. So that takes Giannis out, he's gonna be 26 so unfortunately he will not be on this list. Obviously he's the one you want to be getting to pick up, but I've got five players you should be taking a look at and then I'll also give you that sleeper pick at the end.
So let's go ahead and start off with number five, and that is gonna be Trae Young. The point guard for the Atlanta Hawks. Let's talk about a little bit of pros with Trae and then we'll get into some cons on him. Pros. Only a second-year player with the Atlanta Hawks. This guy is averaging almost 30 points a game. Think about that. 30 points game. You didn't even average 15 a game in high school so this guy's doubling that up in the NBA as a point guard, I mean that's just incredible. He is a Panini exclusive. Now I happen to like athletes that are exclusives with other companies, and here's why.
Number one it sets the price for the autographs, and two it gives a ton of authenticity to his autograph so you know where to go buy authentic autographs. There's no if, ands, or buts about it, just like Jordan with Upper Deck or LeBron with Upper Deck. So I like athletes, especially young athletes, that have exclusives and you'll see a couple guys on this list that do have that. So that's why I'm gonna be mentioning who the exclusives they are with.
He's got a potential to be obviously a free agent in a couple years and coming out of that Atlanta, maybe going to a different team too. Maybe he goes to like Chicago or New York or LA or something like that. Huge growth potential for Trae. Not to say Atlanta is a small market by any means, but Atlanta is not a very good team as it right now. Yeah he just played a big market in Atlanta so that's a good thing to look at. He's a point guard so he's gonna have that ball in his hands all the time so he's gonna be on the TV screen a lot, and fans are gonna be looking at his face and people like that. Young kids are gonna see that and try to emulate him so his popularity is gonna be big, and again he's only 22 in 2020 and he has a big Instagram following at 2.9 million followers as of the making of this video.
The cons with Trae Young are he just plays in a bad team. In the NBA, and really in any autograph collecting industry or any sport, playing on a good team is always a big positive. Because you're in the playoffs, you're winning World Series, you're winning Super Bowls, etc, etc, etc. That's what really drives up a player's autograph. Look at Patrick Mahomes for example. Obviously he won the MVP, big jump, Super Bowl, big jump. So you want to collect guys that are gonna be on good teams.
Number four Ja Morant from the Memphis Grizzlies. Pros, he's Rookie of the Year candidate in 2020. Panini exclusive. Point guard so he's got the ball on his hands all the time. Averaging about 18 points a game here in his first year. Huge growth potential and the reason being is he's got a lot of young talent on his team so his team has a chance to be a really good team. He’s got Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clark just to name a few. He's got a big Instagram following at 2.9 million followers. That's big because the NBA is way better at social media than the NFL and NBA are. Players with big social-media followings obviously tend to be popular so that's something to always look at when you're looking to invest in an NBA player.
Cons right now with him. He plays in a small market in Memphis, but that could change because if they make the playoffs and have some good runs here in the next year or two that could change everything. If he has a big second year that could outplay that Memphis - bad city vibe.
So let's move on to number three. Number three is one of my favorite players in the NBA. I think he is a hugely undervalued autograph. That's Jason Tatum of the Boston Celtics. Former Duke Blue Devil. Let's talk about some pros here with Jason Tatum averaging almost 24 points a game in his second year. Plays in a great Boston Celtics team, really talented team. I don't know if they are NBA championship material just yet but they're gonna be playoff ready for the next few years. Huge market in Boston, obviously Boston has some huge fans. Big social following at 2.5 million Instagram followers. He is a Fanatics exclusive and a pretty affordable autograph right now. Photos are kind of under $200, balls about $250, and then jerseys are about $400 so I think he's kind of undervalued. I think especially if he gets to an NBA championship, and he potentially wins one you're gonna see a big jump in Jason Tatum's autograph.
Some cons on Tatum. It was kind of tough to find any. I was trying really hard to find some negatives on him, and like I said I am kind of biased and I do like him as player. If anything, it could be kind of his shot selection. So it was kind of his game that might actually slow his progress down, but other than that there's a ton of positives with Jason Tatum, especially being on that really solid Boston Celtics team.
Number two and this one might surprise you. Number two is Zion Williamson. Now we all know Zion is basically the darling of the NBA. Follow his card market at all and you’ll see it's absolutely crazy and so maybe you'll understand why is he number two in this list. Let's talk a little bit about some pros here. With him he's got a fanatical following among the NBA fans and people just absolutely love him. His game is super attractive there. I mean people just love jumping shots of him for being such a huge big guy and he's just a fun guy to watch play, especially with his limited time in the NBA. He's averaged only 24 points a game and he's only 19 games played, so 24 games so far in his rookie year. He’s only 20 years old in 2020. He is a Fanatics exclusive. His full autograph looks great, I mean that's something that really you need to look at when investing. What does their autograph look like? His full autograph when he spells it all out is absolutely super cool. I don't if you notice that but he was starting to smudge autographs because he's left-handed so he started signing his last name first and then he would do the Zion which is actually kind of cool. I thought it was kind of interesting on his autograph. He's got five million IG followers. He's not super engaged on there, doesn't have a ton of posts, but five million followers is not something to be ashamed about and he's not on a bad team right now. They've got some pretty good talent there with Lonzo ball and Brandon Ingram, so they've got the potential to be a playoff team, and of course like we talked about today that is a big plus in the NBA. Also he has a solid card market. Like I talked about you know the card market and the autograph market kind of go together so if you see the card market really picking up steam on some guys the autographs tend to kind of follow as well.
Let's talk about some cons on Zion Williamson. This is kind of why I put him as number two. He has expensive autographs right now. They’re about $500 for balls, $800 for jerseys. So there's potential for big growth there, but maybe not as much as if it was more of a Jayson Tatum style autograph as far as affordability goes. I mean LeBron’s autographs are way up there and like I said Zion’s probably not going to be getting there anytime soon, but there's only so much people can afford. You get out of that $1,000 range and that puts you out of the realm of most collectors. Not much NBA experience just yet. Again, only 19 games played. Potential issues maybe with his weight, I don't really know, I played with some guys that were kind of heavyset like that and they moved just fine. So you know if he gets above 300 pounds I'd be concerned but he's moving pretty good in that about 260 range. We'll see how that plays and how it affects his game in the future. Also, New Orleans it's just not a huge market right now so that could be a factor there, and they don't have a really huge storied history either. So it just depends on how things play out with the team if he makes the playoffs or makes an NBA championship.
So let's move on to my number one pick that you've got to have absolutely in your collection, and this guy's a no-brainer right here. Luka Doncic. Some pros for this guy. Averaging 20 points a game in his first two years. He's an established NBA superstar. He's probably the only guy in this list I'd say, maybe outside of Trae Young, that's really an established guy. Like this guy could be making all-star games every year from here on out. Rookie of the year he won already. He's an all-star this year. 4.7 million followers on Instagram. I mean just going back to Zion, again he's got a huge card market, international player as well as being from Europe. He’s only 21, and a Fanatics exclusive, so he's gonna be signing autographs. He has a fairly affordable autograph. I think the last retail price on him for basketballs was $250. That's a great price for a Luka. He’s got room for growth, I think much more than Zion, I think he's got the potential especially since he plays on such a good team in Dallas and the big market in Dallas. Again, if they get to an NBA championship and potentially win one. He's got Porzingis now so that's a nice duo.
So let's talk about some cons with him. He's got that autograph. His autograph sucks. It does not look great. It's not as cool as Zion’s so that is probably the biggest con there about him, but you know what people don't really seem to care all that much right now.
Moving onto my sleeper pick, and this one is kind of one you probably thought might make this list. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. I love this guy's game. He is very talented. He's was averaging 20 points a game in his second year. Very affordable autograph right now. I was just checking out some jerseys and I don't think they were official licenses but you're looking at about $200 for jerseys. International player of course being from Canada. Played on Kentucky so he's got that following as well, and he's on a very good Thunder team. I don't know how far they will be able get in the playoffs but he's on a very good team and he's got the potential either here or if he goes somewhere else. So really a big potential growth here.
Cons for him. He isn't playing in a huge market in OKC and he doesn't sign very often. I don't think I've ever seen him doing autographs so there might not be much on the market right now. So determining an accurate price for him may be kind of difficult. Yet, I can see this guy signing an exclusive with Panini or Fanatics easy. Definitely somebody is going to be picking him up.
So hopefully this helps you guys out with investing in some NBA player playoff autographs. Some guys who are under the age of 25.
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