The Top 5 Most Valuable Rookies of the 2015-16 Draft Class
  • Vinnie Rullo

The Top 5 Most Valuable Rookies of the 2015-16 Draft Class


The 2015-16 NBA season was filled with many new and exciting rookies that burst onto the seam while others had their share ups and downs. I’m going to examine what rookies from this year’s class hold the most value in the sport’s card industry.

My top five consists of players that are the best investments going forward and will hold the most value. Each of these players have a number of different rookie cards, and autographed cards. I’ll be pointing out some cards to look for on each player and what you should be paying for them if you want to purchase them.

Example of Towns Prizm Auto Rookie

Karl-Anthony Towns – The first player on my list is a no-brainer: Karl-Anthony Towns, who was named the unanimous Rookie of the Year. Towns should continue to develop more and more each year and become one of the best overall centers in the NBA. His cards are on fire, Towns is one of the best players that sells the strongest throughout the hobby. His autographed rookie cards range from $100-$4000. Notable cards to look for on Towns is his Prizm Auto, Contenders Auto, Panini Gold, Select, National Treasures and more.

If looking to buy a non-auto he has many color variations of Prizm base cards (examples gold, orange, blue, and purple). All of which are serial numbered on the back. Also a lot of people in the hobby like the big patch cards which are pieces of Towns jersey on the card, these are also numbered and some of the rarer ones have the patch and his auto on the same card. If I’m buying a Towns, I’m going for one of his Auto rookies, I would grab his Prizm Auto which sells in the $100-150 range or I would pick up one of his National Treasure Autos in the $350 range. Towns has a chance to be one of the best centers off all-time…invest with confidence!

Towns National Treasures Auto Rookie that sells for $350

Example of Prizm Orange Auto Rookie of KP /65

Kristaps Porzingis – Despite the New York Knicks having a disappointing season Phil Jackson made the right choice taking Kristaps Porzingis with 4th overall pick. Many fans booed the pick (including me) when he was drafted and not many people knew about him. So far this has been the only thing that Phil has done right during his tenure with the Knicks. Porzingis quickly proved many Knicks fans wrong with his talent, he had a number of big games for them this past season, which included many exciting plays from his as well. Kevin Durant during the season even called KP a “basketball unicorn.” Many other star players continued to be impressed with KP during the season as well. Porzingis’ cards took off very quick because of his impressive play early in the season.

The best time to buy one of his Auto rookies is within the next four months during the off-season, the reason being many collectors will focus on buying other sports during the basketball off-season which will allow you to get a KP auto for a cheaper price than what they were selling for during the season. I’m a big Prizm fan on the NBA Autos, definitely going to purchase his Prizm Auto very soon. His base Auto sells for $50-80 in Prizm, his orange Prizm Auto sells for $130-180 and the orange is numbered to /65. I recommend trying to grab the orange auto or base Prizm, both were selling for double the price during the season…now is a great time to buy KP!

Example of Color Numbered Prizm Cards – Non-Auto) – KP Orange Rookie /65

Example of Booker Patch Auto Rookie Numbered /199

Devin Booker – It’s debated whether Booker will have a better career than some of other rookies picked before him but I think he could surprise some people and have a very solid career. His cards are already very marketable and Booker has moved ahead of guys that were drafted ahead of him like Okafor, Mudiay, Winslow and more. The Suns got a steal at the 13th overall pick.

Booker got a lot of publicity this season for a player that was even on a bad team, I think he should continue to develop more. His autos are very obtainable, you can purchase many of autos that feature a patch, auto, and are serial numbered all on one card for about $40-50. I did manage to get one of Booker’s autos for $30 at a card show this season. There is room for his cards to grow and I think he’s more marketable than people think despite being a bad team Suns team. Purchase Booker’s auto rookies for around $30-50…his super high end rookie autos are selling for over a thousand as well.

Example of Sick Devin Booker Patch Auto Rookie – sold for 1k on eBay

Example of Jahlil Okafor Prizm Auto Rookie

Jahlil Okafor – At the start of the 2015 year many people predicted that Jahlil Okafor would be the #1 overall pick, Towns surpassed him towards the end of the college basketball season and Okafor fell to 3rd overall in the NBA Draft. Okafor also had his ups and downs in his rookie campaign, including a small altercation with a fan in the streets of Boston and was eventually shut down due to injuries at the end of the year. He managed to play 53 games this season for 76ers averaging 17 points per game and seven rebounds.

Okafor’s cards were hot in the beginning of the year but quickly came down in price, which is common when a new product is released in the sports card hobby. Okafor should have a nice career and is still a good player just purchase his stuff with caution. I don’t see him having the marketability like Towns but someone whose cards will be easy to pick up throughout his career. For example one of his National Treasure Autos /49 recently sold for only $81 on eBay, the same card of Towns is worth about four times as much. If you like Jahlil his autos are very easy to get there is some even selling in the $20 range which are his Prestige Auto, Panini Gold and Absolute. I think Okafor could increase in value in the card hobby…but don’t overpay for him. Philly should improve and get more publicity because they landed the #1 pick, which could help Okafor cards…my prediction Ben Simmons will be picked by them in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Jahlil National Treasures Patch Auto Rookie /49 – sold on eBay for $81

Example of Myles Turner Prizm Auto Rookie

Myles Turner – After becoming a starter in January, Myles Turner quickly showed why he is one of the more exciting young centers in the league. Turner just turned 20 years old in March and at age 19 he averaged 10 points per game and 5 rebounds. I ranked Turner ahead of D’Angelo Russell, Justise Winslow and Emmanuel Mudiay the reason being because I think Turner is the much safer player to invest in. Two or three years from now I could be dead wrong and other players could go ahead of Turner but right now Turner is out selling them.

Turner is already paired up with another star player on his team Paul George who’s in the prime of his career. He is even actually selling almost as well if not better in some instances than Okafor’s cards. For example Turner’s Prizm auto sells in the $20 range and Okafor’s is also right around there. I would look to pick a couple of Turner auto’s this off-season at a cheap price. Another notable Turner Auto to look for is his Gold Standard Auto /45 which sells for only $45…seems undervalued in my opinion.

Who will be next year’s top five best rookies to invest in? Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram seem like the early favorites to be one and two. Look for their cards to start hitting the market around October of 2016. Contenders is usually the first product to release autos and rookies if you want to purchase something of them immediately. Best advice would be to search eBay right around that time if you want to buy.

Myles Turner Panini Gold Auto Rookie /99 – sold for $30 on eBay

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