New Orleans Pelicans: Invest in Nickiel Alexander-Walker Cards

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY STANISLAS TOUCHOT – A worker prepares packages of collectible cards featuring football players for the 2018 Russia football World Cup at the Panini Group factory on April 20, 2018, in Modena, northern Italy. – The Panini Group holds the rights for the collectible cards of the 2018 Russia football World Cup. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

The New Orleans Pelicans have a plethora of young talent on their roster. One of the most slept-on young assets on the Pelicans and in the league, in general, is Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

The 23-year old is entering his 3rd season in the NBA and is in a prime position to be a starting point guard this upcoming season. Last year when given the opportunity of an increased role, Alexander-Walker showed the team why they drafted him in the first round.

There is a way to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to belief in young players, and that’s by buying trading cards. Basketball cards and sports cards have existed for over a century now but have gone in and out of popularity.

The “junk wax” of the 90s deterred many collectors from the hobby. In recent years with YouTube and TikTok being important ways people consumed content, the pastime has been able to gain steam nationally. Whether it’s buying a card from eBay or “ripping” a pack for fun, there are plenty of ways to obtain cards and chase after what you want.

For fans of the Pelicans, a player that I’m keeping my eye on in the card world is Nickeil Alexander-Walker. In 18 games as a starter, he averaged over 15 points per game while shooting over 38% from beyond the arc. Admittedly that’s a small sample size, but his poise and incredible shooting ability make me confident in what the future holds.

This entire off-season, he has posted videos of him working on his craft. Earlier in the break, he even was a star for Team Canada during their FIBA Olympic Qualifiers. His shooting continues to make him stand out, and his increased ability to get to the cup reminds me of his cousin, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The most sought out cards of players are and forever will be rookie cards. It’s the first card a player ever has at the professional level, and that makes it a must-have for many collectors. Panini is the only company with an NBA license, which means they are the only producer that can print out cards with the player’s NBA jerseys and team names on them.

The cards that many gravitate towards are autographed, have game-used memorabilia, or both combined. Those can be incredibly expensive, so I’ll be focusing on variation and base cards.

Panini Prizm is considered a top product to the average collector and is an accurate gauge for the market. It’s easy to find Alexander-Walker Prizm cards that are less than $5. Even his perfectly graded base Panini Prizm rookie cards aren’t increasing too much, going around the $50-$60 range. Here’s a rundown on the grading process for those who might have ungraded cards with interest in getting them graded.

For someone as young and talented as NAW, this is almost unfathomable. His increased workload and minute share will improve his stats, and he’s only gotten better the last two years he’s been in the league.

It will be hard for Willie Green to have a worse offensive plan than Stan Van Gundy. Surely that will give him a higher chance to succeed and allow him to make plays with the ball in his hands.

The Pelicans are notoriously not a focus for casual fans, even with transcendent stars like Zion Williamson on the team. That means people don’t know much about the lesser-known players on the team. It is nearly impossible for them to understand that someone like Alexander-Walker is in a prime position to take a leap forward because few media outlets have brought that idea to the forefront (except us). In the dead of the off-season, many collectors are trying to unload cards so they can prepare to buy at the start of the year.

The best time to strike and start your NAW collection is right now. The train is leaving the station, and you have to catch it before it takes off for a future All-Star game.