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2011 NBA Draft Pick Autograph Signing Habits

The hoop dreams of sixty shooting stars came true at last week’s NBA Draft in the Brick City. For these young men, their selections signify not the completion of a journey but, like a college graduation (something almost none of them have experienced), a commencement. It will be a year of firsts for these athletes. Likewise, for most autograph collectors this season will be a first opportunity to graph the rookies—particularly the imports.

Brandon Knight autographed magazine

Are Brandon Knight's days as a reliable signer numbered?

But until the season starts—if the season starts—we hobbyists can only join the front offices and fans in projecting future results through an optimistic lens. In that spirit, I offer a scouting report of the signing habits of the top ten picks in the 2011 NBA Draft class. These notes are based on experiences of my own and the collected viewpoints from members of the autograph community who have generously contributed to this article. I look forward to looking back on this report at the All-Star break to see how the actual results stack up.

Kyrie Irving – PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
A great signer, Irving is known to sign multiples and is “hungry and humble” (his personal motto) in everything he does. Nothing should change this year in Cleveland.

Derrick Williams – PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
I’ve received conflicting reports on Williams, some say he is getting rough while other collectors are still getting multiples. Where there is smoke, there’s fire—temper expectations early in the season until he’s been knocked down a few rungs by the veterans. Teammate Kevin Love, a good signer, could have a heart-to-heart with the young buck…er, wolf.

Enes Kanter – C, Utah Jazz
Reportedly a good signer already, landing in Utah—one of the NBA’s best signing teams—will undoubtedly cement Kanter at the top of the class this season.

Tristan Thompson – PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Seeing Thompson go at number four came as a shock to many. What won’t surprise is that he will be a good signer, especially with Kyrie Irving as a teammate. In my experience, Tristan has done multiples and posed for pictures without a problem.

Jonas Valanciunas – C, Toronto Raptors
We don’t know much about Valanciunas yet (though I’d bet he doesn’t give a “letter perfect” signature) but he reportedly signed well at the draft festivities.

Jan Vesely – SF, Washington Wizards
This import from the Czech Republic made a statement with a big smooch for his significant other after his name was called. However, the word is he doesn’t show love to autograph collectors.

Bismack Biyombo – PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats
Information is scarce on Biyombo but early indications are that the Congolese import (via Madrid) is a nice kid and good signer.

Brandon Knight – PG, Detroit Pistons
I know first-hand that Knight has been hammered by collectors for years (I graphed him when he was a sophomore in high school). It appears Brandon is down to one-per and personalizing. Fine with me, but being in Detroit isn’t going to help his habits. Get him while you still can.

Kemba Walker – PG, Charlotte Bobcats
Like his draft projections, the returns on Walker are all over the board. Some say he is still signing up a storm, others report he is down to one-per. Given the volume of graphs he signed during his UConn days, my gut tells me his days of signing multiples are numbered.

Jimmer Fredette – PG, Sacramento Kings
The only player who may have signed more last year than Walker, Fredette has a reputation for being a great signer. That said, he is at risk, especially as a member of the Sacramento Kings. My gut says he is good for one-per when Jimmer-mania hits your town.

How do you project the signing habits of this rookie class?

I’d like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to this article: Graphgetter, psugator02, studdlee10, kidk, NRC Collectibles, Lofton0788, Doyle1288, psx120, sportsstar4ever, tikitomoka, statboy3181, c-townfinest, colinofwbl13, and Pothole069 from SportsGraphing.com; dudcity, jpy3, and RossiMcgee71 from SportsCollectors.net; and my buddy Garett.

About the author: is the founder of Autograph University. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons. Connect with him on Twitter at @mattraymond.

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