Young NBA Stars: Collectors’ Slam Dunk

If you’re into sports collectibles, you know how important it is to find the next big thing.

With everything in the collectibles realm, you need to be informed. Collecting for investment purposes can be challenging and rewarding. You have to take educated risks on which young players will have great careers and the most valuable collectibles.

For those who love basketball, this list will help you identify the best young players to invest in. Of course, this is only my opinion, so don’t get mad at me if their career takes a turn for the worse and their collectibles drop in value.

1. LeBron James—Okay, so this is an obvious choice for starting this list, but you have to mention LeBron James when you talk about great young NBA players. He’s not just the best young player in the league, he just might be the best player period. The tricky part is finding collectibles of his at a low enough price to warrant investing in them.

2. Dwight Howard—Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic really is Superman. This 22-year-old is undoubtedly the best young big man in the league. He does it all—scores, blocks shots, rebounds the ball and maintains a good field-goal percentage. Invest in this kid’s collectibles, and you won’t be sorry.

3. Kevin Durant—So he’s on a terrible team that just relocated to Oklahoma City. But after averaging more than 20 points per game at age 19, this youngster is poised to be great. I fully expect his next few seasons in the league will catapult him into the forefront of the game. Get his collectibles now.

4. Chris Paul—He’s just 23 years old, but many already view him as the best point guard in the league. I’ve seen him firsthand lighting up the Rockets down here in Houston when his team, the New Orleans Hornets, came to town. There’s no doubt about it—Chris Paul can flat out ball. He’s one of those players that teams develop their whole game plan around.

5. Brandon Roy—This shooting guard was the Rookie of the Year in 2007 and an All Star in 2008. Think he might be pretty good? You’re right. He averages about 20 points per game along with 5 assists each night. At just 24 years old, his collectibles make for a wise investment.

6. Deron Williams—It really pains me to put him on this list as the Jazz seem hellbent on crushing my hometown Houston Rockets every year in the playoffs, but the truth is Deron Williams is a great young point guard. He seems to fly under the radar and rarely gets the respect he deserves. From an investor’s standpoint, this is a good thing as you might be able to score some great deals on his collectibles.

7. Carmelo Anthony—Never forget, there was a huge debate as to whom would be better—Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. While James has become the face of the NBA, Melo hasn’t exactly been doing too badly, either. Last season, he averaged 25.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He’s gotten better each season, and he will be a solid player for years to come.

8. Chris Bosh—This 6-10 power forward has made a huge splash during his few seasons in the NBA. In fact, he was recently named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for his great start this season. For the past several years, he’s averaged about 22 points and 10 rebounds per game. Not bad for a 24-year-old.

9. Carl Landry—I know what you’re thinking—who the heck is Carl Landry? While he hasn’t had the success of other players in this league, he’s my wild-card pick for a future NBA star. During limited playing time with the Houston Rockets, he’s impressed scouts throughout the NBA. He’s a dunking machine, and his jump shot has improved over the off-season. If you’re looking to take a bit of a risk with investing, buy up some Carl Landry collectibles.

10. Kevin Martin—For the past couple seasons, Kevin Martin has quietly been averaging more than 20 points per game in Sacramento. While he might not play the most exciting style of basketball, he hits shots when the team needs him. Expect to hear more about Kevin Martin over the next few years.

Eric Brantner is a sports fan and freelance writer living in Houston.

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