IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, the NBA has become stacked with young up-and-coming talent. Several players under 25 are already nearing superstardom or already there, depending on who you ask. That list includes Luka, Trae Young, and Jaren Jackson, to name a few.
The rise in talent is excellent news for NBA fans and sports card collectors alike. If you’re wondering who you should invest in from 2022 Panini Prizm Basketball, we’ll have everything you should know in this article with our top 5 players who’ll become superstars. You’ll want to make sure you have these players in your collection.
The primary focus of our top 5 picks will be on rookies since they always hold the most value from each year’s Panini Prizm basketball collection. Stick around until the end for all the details.
#1. Paolo Banchero: PF/SF Orlando Magic
Many in the NBA and the sports card world have been raving about last year’s first-overall pick, Paolo Banchero. If one player on this list is looking primed to be a superstar and an excellent investment from Panini Prizm Basketball 2022, he’s it.
We’ve been seeing that value in the amounts his cards have been selling for on eBay. Many of the rarer variations of his cards are going for $1,000+ in current auctions coming off his performances this past season. Some cards have even sold for $7,000+ in the past 30 days.
Why He’ll Be An NBA Superstar
Paolo’s physical stature alone sets him apart from any player on this list and many others around the NBA. He stands at 6’10” and 250 lbs. That makes him challenging to try to contain in any area of the court. His touch from behind the arc and incredible slashing ability make him an actual threat from everywhere.
Paolo is also a brilliant player if physical presence alone isn’t enough. Upon entering the league, we saw him making veteran moves immediately. His ability to draw contact made him one of the top players in getting to the free-throw line during the 2022-23 season.
He also makes his teammates better. He stays aware when he draws double-teams or extra attention around the court and can kick the ball back out to wide-open teammates. He has a savvy head on his shoulders that will only improve as he continues growing as a player.
All these reasons are why he put up such excellent stats in his rookie year, which were very similar to what LeBron put up in his rookie season. That included 20 points per game (PPG), 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. We’re confident that Paolo will continue thriving in the league, making his cards a fantastic addition to your personal collection.
#2. Shaedon Sharpe: SG Portland Trailblazers
Want a flashy player who can jump out of the gym? Look no further than Shaedon Sharpe. Before the 2022 NBA Draft, he caught the attention of many NBA scouts and fans with a reported vertical jump of 49 inches. In perspective, Michael Jordan has the highest-ever recorded vertical jump at the NBA Combine of 48 inches.
That said, Sharpe never tested his vertical at the combine due to an injury that kept him out all year during his college season at Kentucky. However, the proof is really in his game. He can quickly jump over and around others on the court, throwing down spectacular dunks.
Why Sharpe Will Rise to Superstardom
Starting this season, Sharpe was very inconsistent. Much of that has to do with the fact that he hadn’t played basketball for an entire year. Plus, the last time he did play competitively was at the high school level. However, what he showed was his ability to improve.
He started to catch on later in the year, especially once he took on a more significant role when Damian Lillard and other key Trailblazers players were missing in action due to injury. Over time, Sharpe’s field goal percentages improved, and he showed flashes where he could take over the game, such as when he scored his career-high 30 points against the Kings on March 29th, knocking down shots from everywhere on the court.
With Lillard on the trading block and Portland looking to build around a younger core this upcoming season, Sharpe will likely continue to take on a more significant role. With his pure athletic prowess and desire to get better, we’ll probably see him develop into a unique player in the near future. He’s one of the most significant breakout candidates going into next season.
Many sports card holders feel the same way. His rarer variations of cards (#’d/199 or lower) are going for $600+, some even in the $1,000+ range in the past 30 days. Whether you pull one of those cards from a pack or invest in one for sale, you’re looking at a particular investment going into the future.
#3. Jaden Ivey: PG/SG Detroit Pistons
The Pistons had a rocky year last season, to say the least. However, one of the bright spots was the performance they saw from their rookie guard Jaden Ivey. He had inconsistencies but showed an ability to facilitate and produce overall, averaging 16.3 PPG, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.2 assists.
Those are similar numbers to what Russell Westbrook put up in his rookie season. Jaden has even said he modeled his game partially after Westbrook, so the comparison makes sense. Like Russ, Jaden has shown some inconsistencies from 3, but he has lots of room to improve in that area, which we’re confident he will with some coaching.
Ivey’s Superstar Potential.
Thus far, Ivey has shown his ability to impact every facet of the game. One of the primary factors he brings to the table is his ability to facilitate and run the offense. Notably, we saw it in his connection with fellow rookie Jalen Duren who was on the receiving end of 55 of Ivey’s assists he racked up this season. These two young players made for a great duo.
Ivey had a more significant role than expected this season, with fellow guard Cade Cunningham going down with an injury for most of this past season. Jaden’s ability to step into a more significant role and produce bodes well for when Cunningham returns this next season. They have a unique young core growing where Cunningham and Ivey should perform even better together.
Ivey’s rookie cards are a good investment in the sports card world. The Pistons had a rough year, so the hype on him isn’t as high. Within the last 30 days, many of his Prizm blues or rarer variations have been selling for $150+. With his expected growth within this budding young roster, look for that to be an excellent investment going into the future.
#4. Jalen Williams: SG Oklahoma City Thunder
Next up, we have an entertaining player in Jalen Williams. The most exciting thing about Williams is his unique build. He’s a 6’5” shooting guard but has a 7’2” wingspan. It’s pretty impressive and allows him to look and play like a power forward. For example, he’s capable of protecting the rim and getting blocks much more frequently than your typical SG.
Can Williams Be a Superstar? Yes!
In OKC’s system, Williams is being set up for success. Notably, he has fellow guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to mentor him in his development.
We’ve already seen some of Shai’s style rub off on Williams, particularly in his technique pulling up from mid-range. The two of them may even be able to form quite an impressive dynamic duo in the coming years if they both stick around with OKC.
One of the things Jalen does very impressively is his movement off the ball. He’s exceptional at knowing when to cut to the basket off-ball so he can finish with easy points at the rim. Plus, it’s an impressive sight when he takes off to dunk. We’re bound to get plenty of highlight reels involving Jalen that will elevate his stock even further.
Speaking of his stock, his 2022 Prizms currently hold tons of value in the sports card world and will increase over time as he continues to develop. In the past 30 days, we’ve seen several of his Prizm blues (#’d/199) go for $225+ and many rarer variations (#’d/49 or lower) go for up to $1,000+. If you pull one of these from a pack, know you have some great value on your hands.
#5. Bennedict Mathurin SG Indiana Pacers
Out of the players on this list, Bennedict Mathurin needs the most development. However, that hasn’t stopped him from showing his flashes, and anyone who has seen enough of his games knows he has immense potential.
What Makes Bennedict Mathurin Special?
One of the things that pops out when you watch Mathurin’s game is his vertical, especially when driving to the rim. He has an innate ability to float and adjust mid-air seemingly, reminiscent of what Kyrie Irving can do when driving to the edge.
Mathurin has had his ups and downs from the 3-point range. He started the season shooting a lights-out 42% from behind the arc. However, things came to a screeching halt after December, where is 3 point percentage dropped to just 28%.
That said, where Mathurin does excellent work is creating shots from behind the arc. Specifically, statistics show that he ranked in the 91st percentile last season in terms of the ability to develop high-quality three-point looks. He needs to gain more consistency to knock those shots down. We have complete faith that he will grow to achieve that potential.
Considering his potential, many of Mathurin’s rookie cards are selling for great value. Most of his Prizm blues have sold for around $100+ over the last 30 days. His numbers in the final part of the season were down, which took away a lot of the hype, but these are the times when a lot of significant investments in cards can be made when you see a player’s potential.
There you have it, our complete list of players from Panini Prizm Basketball 2022 who will become superstars. Hopefully, you can see what makes each of these players unique in their own right. Investing in any of these guys for your PC is a great idea. We’re looking forward to seeing them develop in the upcoming years!