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Monday, April 23, 2007

NBA Playoffs - Potential Impact Players in the West

We've just seen an exciting wave of 1st round game 1's this weekend, and here are a few players that I think could make an impact for their respective teams' successes, which could possibly affect their RC demand.
  • Linas Kleiza (DEN, 05-06 RC) - Kleiza showed potential throughout the year, and really stepped up his game toward the end of the season. He provides benefits at both ends of the court, with solid rebounding and a three-point threat. I like his SPA Limited Rookies #'d 100 ($25 BV) and Exquisite Coll Auto/Patch #'d 225 ($80 BV). You can still pick these up for low % of BV prices (if you can find them).
  • Nene (DEN, 02-03 RC) - Nene has struggled with various challenges since his RC year, but he looks to be in top shape going into the playoffs. His scoring & rebounding are good complements to support the Melo-AI offense & Camby defense. In game 1, he posted 13 pts & 12 boards (8 offensive). His SPA Auto #'d 1500 ($15 BV) and SPX Auto/Jsy #'d 999 ($25 BV) are relative good buys.
  • Baron Davis (GS, 99-00 RC) - The Warriors pulled off one of the greatest upsets in this series of game 1's, beating the top seeded Mavs. This was largely possible because of Baron Davis, who posted 33 pts, 14 rebounds & 8 assists. His RC's have been depressed for a long time, and now have a chance to rebound. His best RC is his SPx Auto #'d 500 ($80 BV). I also like his Skybox Autographics ($40 BV) and E-X E-xplosive Auto #'d 1-99/1999 ($50 BV). If you want an inexpensive auto from his RC year, take a look at his Ultra Fresh Ink (print run to 475) which books at $15.
  • Mickael Pietrus (GS, 03-04 RC) - An x-factor for GS could be Pietrus. This young, dynamic player can shoot the three or take it strong to the hole. Look for him to provide the added support to Davis & Richardson in upcoming games. All of his RC's are bargains, most of the time listed as commons, so I would go after his best ones.
  • Leandro Barbosa (Pho, 03-04 RC) - Barbosa has emerged as the best 6th man in the league. He's arguably the fastest player dribbling in the NBA, and he can score from anywhere. In game 1, he led the Suns' sluggish offense with 26 pts coming off the bench. His RC cards have been creeping up in value each month, but I think they definitely still have room to grow. His only base Auto RC's that show his full signature are his SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 1999 ($30 BV) and Bowman Sig Auto/Jsy #'d 1250 ($20 BV). All of his other base Auto RC's show either his "LB" or LB #10" signature.
  • Luke Walton (LAL, 03-04 RC) - Kobe & Odom are two well-rounded veteran players that can do it all, but a third will be needed if the Lakers want to succeed in the postseason. Walton is the top candidate to be that third. He can score, rebound, dish and he has the BB IQ. Most of the other Lakers are niche players, providing 1 or 2 skills to compliment the stars. I like Walton's SPA Auto #'d 1250 ($25 BV), SPx Auto/Jsy #'d 1999 ($30 BV) and Topps Rookie Photo Shoot Auto (print run of 56) ($80 BV).
  • Maurice Evans (LAL, 04-05) - Mo Evans is another player to watch. During the regular season there were several occasions where he was able to spark the Lakers offense. His RC's are commons, so I'm not sure what sets included him. On eBay, the selection is very sparse at best. Keep an eye out for some of his key RC's to come up on auction.
  • Jason Terry (DAL, 99-00) - The Mavs suffered a great blow yesterday losing game 1 to GS. When Nowitzki & Howard are off their game, Terry has the potential to be the one to step pick up their shooting slack (He's a very decent 3-pt shooter - .438 this season). His best RC is SPx Auto ($20 BV).
  • Rafer Alston (HOU, 99-00 RC) - Yao & T-Mac are great players, but they can't do it all themselves. I've been hoping that Shane Battier would step up to be their supporting star, but he's been a disappointment. Alston, the former NY streetball legend, on the other hand has picked up the slack. In game 1, he posted 9 pts, 11 boards, 8 assists & 2 steals. The only RCs that I found in the Beckett were E-X #'d 3499 ($2.50 BV), Fleer Mystique #'d 2999 ($2.50 BV), UD ($2 BV) and UD Bronze #'d 100 ($6 BV). There may be others not listed.
  • Paul Millsap (UTA, 06-07) - This young F has shown us glimpses of what he's capable of during the regular season, especially when Boozer was injured. If he can come off the bench provide support in the paint on both sides of the court, it would really help out the Jazz's big three (Williams, Boozer & Okur). His RC's have been on the rise. He doesn't have as many Auto's from his RC year as other players do, but the ones he does have are hot sellers. His Fleer Autographics ($15 BV) sold for an average $38.91 in March. The only other set that I've seen containing his autos is SP Sig.
Look for my East player list soon.

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