Who is the next NBA Break-Out Player To Invest In? There are players everyone knows are going to be huge. No one was surprised by Lebron or Zion. But when it comes to investing in players, there is a lot more to be made from players few expect to make it big. These are the break-out stars.
We have already given you our breakdown of the best investments among the well-known NBA players. But here is our off-the-beaten-path guide to the unlikely stars of tomorrow.
There’s no one correct answer. If anything, it depends on perception. For example, many collectors would say Nikola Jokic had a break-out year in 2020-21, but others would argue against this, considering he’s been a perineal all-star for several seasons.
Instead, “breaking out” is heavily dependent on expectations. It is a subjective and ultimately relative indicator. I’d go as far as to argue that a break-out season is simply a player leaping expectations, whatever those may be.
Whenever a player successfully does that, it creates another powerful effect: creating an appealing narrative. Having latent stories woven into card collecting—such as the drama of the Nets team and Durant’s return—boosts sales. And like most people, collectors love a good story.
With that in mind, here’s a list of players that could go above and beyond next season, and as a result, their cards could sore in price.
Michael Porter Jr. quietly became an all-star level talent when Jamaal Murray finished his seasons due to a knee injury. Before the Murray injury, MPJ showed he was a very efficient scorer in limited attempts. Without Murray, MPJ kept the same efficiency while taking significantly more shots.
Porter finished the season amid a hot streak, averaging over 20 points per game. The guy was even shooting nearly 50% from three. Porter Jr. has always been a highly-touted prospect (the number one high school recruit in an incredibly deep 2018 class, even), and after a slow start because of his injuries, it seems MPJ has finally found his rhythm. Even with Murray coming back next season, Porter Jr. could make his first All-Star team and become an even more dangerous offensive weapon while his defense slowly is improving, too.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is only 22-years-old now, but he could be the face of a franchise for a very long time. The Thunder were surprisingly competitive this season, with SGA on the floor. With an eye-catching number of draft picks over the next few years, it’s very easy to imagine a future where SGA is the leader of a dangerous, young team (think Durant circa 2010).
Having said that, it might take a while before the Canadian guard realizes his full potential. Therefore, I’d be more surprised if this man missed the all-star game next season than if he made it.
But there is a lot of promise there. Although he was shut down early because of an injury this season, SGA was dynamic while on the floor. He averaged 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists while shooting 40% from three. If he continues down this path, SGA could be an MVP candidate on a Finals contenders—and with the price of his cards right now, there might never be a better time to buy.
This season was supposed to be the break-out season for Wood, but an injury and all-around tanking effort from the Rockets derailed that. Still, Wood started the season putting up all-star level numbers and looking dynamic alongside John Wall.
Sure, Wood only played in 41 games this season. However, he shot 50% from the field while averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds. If he could build on this and do it for an entire season, Wood will be in the running for an All-Star spot.
Kevin Porter Jr. has quite the story—full of both highs and lows. First, he had a rough upbringing, translating to a somewhat troubled basketball career despite loads of talent. Second, many thought his career was over earlier this season when the Houston Rockets traded him to the Cavaliers for essentially nothing. Still, somehow Porter Jr. seemed to find a little traction in Cleveland. He has since shown flashes of brilliance, including a monstrous 50-point game against a sleepy Milwaukee team in late April.
While Porter Jr. didn’t see the floor for much of the season, he ended the season averaging 24 points and 7 assists through the last 10 games. If he can do that for an entire year, look out, NBA! For both basketball fans and Porter Jr. as a person and athlete, let’s hope he can continue staying out of trouble and putting up highlights.
Bamba benefited greatly from the Magic’s own late-season tanking. Once Orlando blew up their current roster by trading three significant pieces at the deadline, the big man from Texas suddenly got more playing time and a chance to live up to his expectations as the #6 pick in the 2018 draft.
He only averaged 8 points for the season, but he averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds over the last 10 games. Those final games included some monstrous games: 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks against the Celtics and 22 points, 15 boards, and 2 blocks against the Pistons. More of those games could be in the future for Bamba, and although he has a long way to go before he ever thinks about being a top 10 talent for his position, the skills are definitely in place.
Want the best story of the NBA this season that nobody talked about? Meet Freddie Gillespie, the Toronto Raptor, who did the unthinkable when he went from Playing DIII basketball to signing an NBA contract.
Technically, Gillespie signed several NBA contracts. First, the Raptors called him up from the Memphis Hustle G-league team for a 10-day agreement. After showing lots of hustle and grit on the floor, Gillespie signed another 10-day contract and immediately scored 10 points on the same day. Finally, he signed a 2-year contract with the team while winning over Raptors fan with not only his effort on the floor but also his fun personality and impressive musical skills.
Odds are, Gillespie will never be a top-level talent. He might not even be a starter at any point in his career. But the former DIII player seems to bring unmatched energy to every game, and he only has one rookie card. Therefore, a break-out season could do wonders for its value.
We hope this article has given you some examples of players with a reasonable likelihood of breaking out. It is difficult to predict which players will make it big and contrarily, who the hobby will ignore. However, keep in mind, the more unlikely the break-out story, the bigger the potential profit