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  • Spencer Limbach

How to Boost Your NBA TopShot Collection for Maximum Profitability

Early adopters of NBA TopShot have seen their collections skyrocket in value over the past several weeks. It really didn’t matter what card you bought, it was almost guaranteed to increase in value over the next few days or even hours.


However, it seems the market has plateaued at the time of writing this article - March 1.


To put it another way, investors need to be a little more savvy in order to stay profitable.


NBA TopShot is still very new, and the market remains unpredictable from week-to-week. Here are the main questions we’ll be considering in the near-future:

  • When will the next surge of users come?

  • Could the All-Star break be used as a promotional tool?

  • Reserved common packs will be released sometime in early March. How will the marketplace react?

  • Does player performance (or awards) impact the price of his cards?


My goal is to track these questions and try to provide answers as we move forward.


Below, I will outline situations that I believe are value opportunities on the NBA TopShot marketplace. There’s a good chance that prices will change by the time you read this, but the real takeaway comes from the logic involved in these recommendations. You could apply the same rationale to countless situations in the marketplace, and I would encourage you to do your own research while potentially using this article to narrow your screening tools.


WATCHLIST #1: UNDERPRICED CARDS DUE TO INJURY OR PLAYER PERFORMANCE


D’Angelo Russell - BLOCK - Series 1 - Size / 2879 - Low Ask: $198

This is pretty cheap when considering it’s a fairly small Series 1 Edition of a former All-Star. There’s an obvious explanation for the discount, as Minnesota has the worst record in the league, and D’Angelo Russell has underachieved severely this season. He’s currently out until sometime late-March or early-April, and there’s a chance the Wolves rule him out for the rest of the season. However, this card makes some sense as a long-term hold. Here’s why: 1) This could be the bottomed-out price. 2) D-Lo and the Wolves have nowhere to go but up from this point. 3) Russell’s profile could grow if Minnesota gets something going with their young core of D-Lo, KAT, and Edwards … Full disclosure: I currently have two of these cards, and I would be willing to potentially add another if the price keeps dropping. It’s definitely on my watchlist.


WATCHLIST #2: SNEAKY-GOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR UP-AND-COMING TALENT


Kevin Porter Jr. - DUNK - Series 1 - Size / 3999 - Low Ask: $535

I currently have no shares of this card, and I regret it. I bought one last week, then flipped it to lock in some profit. News came out that Kevin Porter Jr. will get promoted from the G-League to the Houston Rockets after the All-Star break. The Rockets are tanking at the moment, and they have every incentive to put the ball in Porter’s hands to let him develop. The second-year-man has been fantastic in the G-League while averaging 23-7-5 this season, so maybe he can make some noise for the rebuilding Rockets … Also, this moment is from February of 2020, which was Porter’s rookie season with the Cavs. On top of being a really cool windmill dunk, it should get a rookie badge once those are enabled. That certainly won’t hurt the value.


Darius Garland - LAYUP - Series 1 - Size / 3999 - Low Ask: $385

It seems that all of the 2020-21 rookies are taking up most of the hype on NBA TopShot. However, we can’t forget about last year’s rookies who will still be getting a badge on moments from last season. That includes Porter in the previous example and his former teammate, Darius Garland, right here. Not many people are paying attention to the Cavs this season, but they have an exciting backcourt duo with Garland and Collin Sexton. In fact, I like Sexton’s LE / 3999 Dunk for a similar price as Garland here. No matter how you slice it, I’m expecting these Series 1 cards to hold value in the future, and both of these guys could blossom into premiere players for the next generation. I like the upside of a long-term hold.


WATCHLIST #3: USING DATA & ODDS TO MAKE EDUCATED DECISIONS


Dwight Howard - DUNK - Series 2 - Size / 15000 - Low Ask: $38



First off, a tip of the hat goes to Jason Bales for this recommendation. Jason has a fantastic NBA TopShot collection, and he puts out a newsletter with his approach/thoughts. I highly recommend checking it out. In his first article, he points out how Dwight Howard is simply too cheap when considering the body of work throughout his NBA career. I’m in 100% agreement. Sure, Howard is a bench guy who sees 10-15 minutes per game right now, but he will be in the Hall of Fame one day. Here’s a list of probability for players to make the HoF, according to Basketball-Reference.

As you can see, Howard has a 99.73% chance. For lack of anything else, this is a cheap way to add a HOFer to your NBA TopShot collection, and I believe that will pay dividends years down the road. These LE / 15000 editions will look rare too.


You could also look towards “Player Futures” to give an indication if someone is trending up or down. For example:

  • LeBron James is currently favored to win MVP (+170). He’s followed by Joel Embiid (+450) and Nikola Jokic (+600). Embiid and Jokic are priced at $158 and $103 currently for their LE / 15000.

  • Jordan Clarkson could be sneaky-good with a -360 line to win Sixth Man of the Year. Playing for a Utah team that is rolling and poised to make a deep run in the playoffs shouldn’t hurt.

As mentioned earlier, we don’t know if winning awards will translate to a price increase, but it’s worth keeping these things in mind to provide context to the overall NBA landscape.


REVIEW: KEY POINTS & RESOURCES

  • You can set price alerts for certain players. Kudos to ‘Add More Funds’ for making this feature. This is a helpful way to “buy the dip” without scouring the site every waking hour.

  • Even when flipping a moment for a quick buck, I’m always asking myself if I’m fine holding it for the long-term. If the answer isn’t an obvious “yes”, then there are probably better moments out there, unless it’s an egregious pricing error.

  • Understand your risk tolerance. It’s easy to get lost in twitter conversations and memes of people making blanket statements of selling or holding. Some people are cool letting it ride. Others like to lock in profits then play risk-free with their proceeds. Understanding where you fall in that range can help you manage your emotions.

  • We don’t know what the market will do. I laid out my approach on what I believe is a sound buying strategy for this phase of NBA TopShot. I could be wrong. That’s why I’ll be looking to adapt and update throughout this article series. Ultimately I believe in the product and find myself taking a longer view than I did a month ago. It’s important to keep this perspective and tweak it whenever necessary.

NEXT ARTICLE:

  • Are “Moment Easter Eggs” actually a thing?

  • How to treat challenges with an update on Cool Cats 2 / The Gift.

  • Other moments and screening tools to be aware of.

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