I’m starting this post by stating that I’m a Pacers fan first. I started cheering for the Pacers in the mid-90s when Reggie Miller and team regularly went deep in the playoffs, battled the Knicks, MJ, etc… While Indiana’s been consistently good, not great, for quite some time, the Spurs obtained the ultimate prize five times since 1999. I’ve always admired (and envied) the team’s success, but the franchise also gave me hope that a smaller market team could obtain and sustain that level of excellence, assuming the right people (players and coaches) come into the fold.
And even though the Spurs aren’t a playoff team today, I expect them to be back in the mix pretty soon. One reason is Dejounte Murray’s play, and his ascent towards All-Star status.
And why is Murray on my radar? You can roll your eyes when I say it’s fantasy basketball, but it’s the truth. Seriously, I’m more in tune with certain players’ stats, both typical and advanced because of it, and Murray is one guy I had earlier in his career because of his perceived upside. I drafted him again this year, and now he just might turn into a keeper for me. I know stats aren’t everything (see Russell Westbrook, sorry Russ), but Murray is averaging over 8 1/2 and 8 1/2 assists per game, on top of career high scoring numbers (18 a game). He’s got to be in the all-star conversation, although guard spots in the West are loaded.
On the hobby side of things, my biggest non-Pacer player collection is by far Duncan, with over 400 cards. Since I started collecting Duncan it started to trickle into Tony Parker pickups, and I’m expecting Parker’s heir to join that Spurs group. While Murray’s Optic and Prizm rookies aren’t as cheap as they once were (around $15 minimum from what I can find out there), they also aren’t outrageous for a player of his caliber. If he continues to play at this level and the Spurs can make a run (they have a favorable January schedule), I would think they would continue to climb.
2016-17 was the last year I opened current-year packs prior to literally today when I found new cards out in the wild (separate post to come on that), and that happened to be Murray’s rookie year. It seemed like every product I tried out (that was my method back then), I found Dejounte. Not a bad thing. I can get behind finding Spurs rookies in my packs, even if they aren’t the most popular.
Fast forward to today, and going through a box of cards, many of which were from 2016-17, I realize I’ve got a decent start on a small Murray collection.
Lower end products, yes, but that’s just where I am as a collector, especially when it comes to opening packs. My favorite of the four has to be Excalibur. I love game action shots, first off. I think that’s where the Topps core set excelled and where Panini has a gap. The simple design, readable text, it’s just a winning set for me.
What am I looking to pick up here? Well I’d like to nab an Optic rookie at a fair price, some Optic or Prizm regular Holos (non-rookie year) are always welcome. I’m also a fan of the Revolution brand so I would like to pick one of those rookies up as well.
Something about the Spurs, I’m just an admirer over here, even with them in a down cycle. Who’s a player that you’ve been tracking that looks to be on the brink of stardom? I’ve got a couple others in mind, but maybe I’ll save for future posts.