2014-15 NBA Rookie Card Collecting Guide
Fueling the most anticipation for basketball rookie collectors in recent memory, the 2014 NBA Draft class enters their inaugural season with much excitement and fanfare. While the final verdict may not come for many years, one sure thing is that the 2014 NBA Draft is stacked with potential.
Drawing comparisons to the last big NBA Draft season, 2003-04, which included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and many others, fans and collectors have considerable expectations for this newest group of NBA players.
Unfortunately for collectors caught up in the excitement of these impressive rookies, the NBA season does not officially start until October 28th. However, the first official NBA product, 2014-15 NBA Hoops, is out now. Collectors were also treated to an early look at the rookies when Panini revealed virtual cards from Hoops in real-time as the players were drafted.
In addition to 2014-15 products, collectors have other places to obtain cards for the incoming rookie class. First, previous products, like 2013-14 Panini Signatures and 2013-14 Panini Intrigue, include redemption cards for players from the 2014 NBA Draft. Also, various cards have been trickling out for the top players in other limited releases. Several players have been previously featured on SI Kids cards. 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball brought the first autographs for Doug McDermott and Shabazz Napier, and Dante Exum was included in the 2014 Panini Father's Day set. Also, several of the top picks were featured in a special Hoops promo giveaway at the 2014 NBA Summer League.
But the biggest early release came at the 2014 National Convention in Cleveland. Between the wrapper redemption, NSCC VIP set and VIP gold party packs, Panini produced cards for many of the top 40 picks, including some autographs. Additionally, Leaf released a special five-card set for first-overall pick, Andrew Wiggins. Limited Leaf autographed versions for Wiggins were also available. Interest in these pre-rookies will likely diminish as more regular season options are available.
It is important to note that while Nerlens Noel (2013-14 products) has rookie cards in previous products, he will be recognized as an NBA rookie for 2014-15 since it will be his first season in the league after missing the entire year with a knee injury. Noel is among the favorites for Rookie of the Year.
View a detailed list of the top 2014-15 NBA rookies below, as well as a simple overview of the other notable players. Although some of these players will be included in Leaf basketball releases, several of the top rookies, including the first three picks, are exclusive to Panini products.
2014-15 NBA Draft Rookie Card Collecting Guide
Click on the listing or image to shop for cards on eBay.
Andrew Wiggins, SG - Minnesota Timberwolves
2014 Draft: 1st Overall
It has been a tough stretch for Wiggins given his slow start in college and the hoopla surrounding his not-so-secret trade from Cleveland to Minnesota. While playing alongside LeBron James would have been great for his learning curve, the number one overall pick will get much more rookie minutes with the Timberwolves. From a collecting standpoint, he is not far off from Parker and is another leading candidate for Rookie of the year.
Jabari Parker, SF - Milwaukee Bucks
2014 Draft: 2nd Overall
The early favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year, Jabari Parker headlines a rebuilding Bucks' squad that is looking for some star power. Like Wiggins, Parker should enjoy strong rookie minutes and as the most NBA-ready player, Parker should produce early and often.
*Joel Embiid, C - Philadelphia 76ers*
2014 Draft: 3rd Overall
Joel Embiid has already built a sizable following based on his enormous potential and humorous and occasionally bizzare Twitter interactions. Similar to his teammate, Nerlens Noel, he is expected to miss most of his first season and possibly all of it. Regardless, he will stay popular in the hobby during the year, but will likely not see substantial gains or losses until more is known about his availability.
Aaron Gordon, PF - Orlando Magic
2014 Draft: 4th Overall
The first of two early draft picks for the Orlando Magic, Aaron Gordon's extreme athletic ability is not enough to overcome a poor shooting record. This should keep expectations down but his highlight dunks will get him plenty of looks from collectors.
Dante Exum, SG - Utah Jazz
2014 Draft: 5th Overall
Former Team: Australia HS
The likable Australian has already gotten some screen time thanks to his Adidas Foot Locker commercials and is another player who could have a breakout rookie season. While may have questioned why the Jazz brought in Exum when the already have Trey Burke, the plan (for now, at least) is to deploy Exum at shooting guard.
Marcus Smart, PG - Boston Celtics
2014 Draft: 6th Overall
College: Oklahoma State
It has been long rumored that Rajon Rondo is on the way out of Boston. Although a trade has not yet materialized, a preseason injury for Rondo presents more opportunities for Marcus Smart to work his way into the rotation. Collectors are all over the former Oklahoma State star and if Rondo returns slowly or is moved to another team, Smart's hobby interest will surge.
Julius Randle, PF - LA Lakers
2014 Draft: 7th Overall
With the media coverage and rich history of the Los Angeles Lakers, most new additions will get serious consideration from collectors. But when you account for the considerable potential that Julius Randle possesses, it is easy to see how many expect Randle to become the next superstar in LA.
Nik Stauskas, SG - Sacramento Kings
2014 Draft: 8th Overall
The lanky sniper is one of the best shooters in the entire draft and the next in a long line of shooting guards (Ben McLemore, Jimmer Fredette) that the Kings have previously drafted. Nik Stauskus should immediately help a Sacramento team that struggled beyond the arc.
Elfrid Payton, PG - Orlando Magic
2014 Draft: 10th Overall
While he did not come from a notable basketball school, Elfrid Payton is the dark horse rookie that many fans and collectors are expecting big things form. The Magic as a team have been down since Dwight Howard left, but they are starting to accumulate some good pieces and Payton should make an immediate impact.
Doug McDermott, SF - Chicago Bulls
2014 Draft: 11th Overall
Arguably the best shooter in the rookie group, Doug McDermott's early production will be hurt as he is one of the only top players that joins an elite team. The Bulls are a deep playoff team and McDermott's minutes will be inconsistent to start. Despite this, the Creighton grad is a player to keep a close eye on.
T.J. Warren, SF - Phoenix Suns
2014 Draft: 14th Overall
College: NC State
The Suns were a fringe playoff team last year and T.J. Warren brings a strong scoring ability into the mix. Phoenix is not normally a collecting market, but a winning team and high production can overcome this, to an extent.
Other Notable 2014-15 NBA Rookies
Noah Vonleh, PF - Charlotte Hornets
2014 Draft: 9th Overall
Adreian Payne, PF - Atlanta Hawks
2014 Draft: 15th Overall
College: Michigan State
Tyler Ennis, PG - Phoenix Suns
2014 Draft: 18th Overall
Mitch McGary, PF - OKC Thunder
2014 Draft: 21st Overall
Shabazz Napier, PG - Miami Heat
2014 Draft: 24th Overall
C.J. Wilcox, SG - Los Angeles Clippers
2014 Draft: 28th Overall
Cleanthony Early, SF - New York Knicks
2014 Draft: 34th Overall (2nd Round)
College: Wichita State
Zach LaVine, PG - Minnesota T-Wolves
2014 Draft: 13th Overall
James Young, SG - Boston Celtics
2014 Draft: 17th Overall
Gary Harris, SG - Denver Nuggets
2014 Draft: 19th Overall
College: Michigan State
Rodney Hood, SG - Utah Jazz
2014 Draft: 23rd Overall
P.J. Hairston, SG - Charlotte Hornets
2014 Draft: 26th Overall
Former Team: Texas Legends (D-League)
Kyle Anderson, PF - San Antonio Spurs
2014 Draft: 30th Overall
Glenn Robinson III, SG - Minn. T-Wolves
2014 Draft: 40th Overall (2nd Round)