Top Shot Starter Kit: Best Central Division Moments Under $25
by Paul Brown
In part two of our NBA Top Shot Starter Kit series, we’ll set our sights on the Central Division. With the worst record from the East and the reigning NBA champions in one division, there is a huge variety of established stars and young talent. As always, some of the best Top Shot Moments come from some of the most surprising places.
When I started on NBA Top Shot, I realized quickly the best way to maximize the fun of NBA Top Shot was to find the Moments that have the most value to me personally — that could mean being at the game and seeing it live or simply loving your team’s City Edition jersey.
In this beginner’s guide to Top Shot, we’ll give you some ideas to help you sort through the hundreds of Moments on Top Shot and start your collection. Whether you’re completing an NBA team set for Collector Score bonuses or looking to dominate the upcoming MomentRanks Play season, you can get started with these Moments.
The only rules I set out were five different players for MomentRanks Play purposes at an affordable price — under $25 at the time of writing. That way, you can start with a broader Top Shot collection and don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket.
As a first time All-Star but two-time dunk champ, LaVine’s Cool Cats dunk Moment makes sense here, but it’s just over our threshold. Bulls fans can take their pick of Lavine highlights, however the Seeing Stars set is special, as it recognizes every All-Star from the 2020-21 season, and will likely always be a sought after. This Moment immortalizes LaVine’s first career All-Star Game roster appearance.
Nikola Vucevic scored this bucket in his first minute as a Bull. Chicago fans are hoping this is a sign of things to come and he can help them back to the Playoffs next season. With averages of 21 points and 11 boards a game, he adds a lot to any lineup and should be a staple going forward.
Buzzer beaters are fun even if they end a quarter not a game. Coby White hits this one against the rival Bucks to end the third quarter in his sophomore season. Bulls fans see him as a big part of the future if he can keep hitting shots like this. Grabbing a unique category with a lower mint count is never a bad plan.
This is a Bulls fans dream. Credited as a Dunk, this highlight involves three Bulls and great ball movement on the fast break. Patrick Williams finishes with a slam on his way to a double-double in his rookie season. This moment has two Rookie Badges attached to it as well!
This putback slam is incredibly flashy. Javonte Green runs the wing and crashes the glass with authority. Added bonus: the City edition jerseys looked really clean this year and were some of my favorites. Green’s debut is also his only Moment, so it will be required to complete any team set with Series 2.
As a member of the Big 3 that won Cleveland its first title, Kevin Love is a must-own for every Cavalier Collection. In this Moment, an astounding full court pass hits his teammate in stride for an easy layup. This outlet pass will have fans reminiscing about the good old days while looking at the future of collectibles.
Everyone loves a good revenge game, and Jarrett Allen’s first game as a Cavalier was against the team that traded him. He showed Brooklyn what they were missing with a double-double and a win. This was one of his four blocks in the game, which took a layup off the glass. Cleveland fans can’t wait to see more from this 23-year-old rim protector.
A steal and a dunk by young guard Collin Sexton is a win-win as far as Cav Moments go.
As a bonus win-win, the Hustle and Show set is not hard to complete for a Collector Score bonus and a steal gets you a nice MR play boost in addition to his 24 ppg last year.
Cedi Osman doesn’t just throw a cross court bounce pass through the defense — he throws it through their legs! A nutmeg that leads to a fast break layup is definitely Debut worthy. It is also worth noting that Series 1 Moments have lower mint counts, which is relevant as you curate your collection.
The speed, quickness and athleticism that made Collin Sexton a top five pick are on full display here. Using a solid screen to weave through the defense he acrobatically finishes a reverse layup around the shot blocker. Cavs fans think the future is bright for the “Sexland” backcourt.
Jerami Grant had a breakout season averaging over 22 points to lead the Pistons this season, and finished second in Most Improved Player of the year results. This dunk will get every Motor City fan going as Grant takes a bump and ferociously throws down a slam on defender Daniel Theis. With so many exciting youngsters around him, Grant will be a centerpiece for the Pistons going forward.
Knowing I needed to have Saddiq Bey on this list, it was a tough choice between this and his Top Shot Debut. I chose the Hustle & Show because it still has two Rookie Badges, is a non-base Moment, and I really like this set. Pistons fans can’t go wrong either way with grabbing a Bey Moment.
Hamidou Diallo has a flair for excitement and you see it as he pulls himself up and hangs on the rim after this fast-break dunk. He has another Rare dunk from the Series 2 Throwdowns if you want to explore all your Diallo dunk options — though it’s priced up as it’s the Throwdowns bottleneck.
With 3 possible dunks to choose from for this list, Mason Plumlee has a clearly defined rebound, defense, and dunk role in Detroit. This Moment was unique not just because of the shiny debut badge but the creative pass from Jerami Grant to set him up made the whole play more fun.
Svi Mykhailiuk no longer being a Piston makes this Moment a literal must-have for anyone who wants to have a Pistons complete set, though he does have a Series 2 Pistons Moment as well. That plus the mint count means this is one to buy-low on for your long-term collecting purpose.
With great passing instincts, rebounding know-how, and a great shooting touch Sabonis earned his first All-Star Team selection this season. This Cool Cats Moment is a block, for a big potential MomentRanks Play bonus on top of his nightly double double.
Caris LeVert had one of the most unique seasons in recent memory making his return to the court truly special. LeVert’s first Pacers Moment came off a step-back 3-pointer in his first game as a Pacer, after returning from kidney cancer.
Malcolm Brogdon is a 50/40/90 threat shooter who can break down a defense and score at any level. This Moment will be special to Pacer fans as while Brogdan makes the first pass, he then fills the corner and receives the pass for the 3, a solid all around team play.
The best Fan Favorite players all play with tons of energy and most play tough defense — like nine steals in a half defense. This may have been a different game, but it’s just more evidence that defense leads to offense as McConnell takes the ball and turns it into a bucket at the other end.
OK, when I started this list I would not have guessed Goga Bitdaze would make this list, but when I saw this highlight I watched it five times. Bigs don’t have a lot of “acrobatic layup” highlights, and this is one of them as he ditches two defenders and puts it in. Throw all that in a cool jersey and you got yourself a must-have debut!
Every Bucks fan needs a moment from their two-time MVP and now Finals MVP. Here the Greek Freak shows why he also has a DPOY on his resume as he denies De’Andre Hunter at the rim, getting an extra MomentRanks Play boost for the block. Giannis will be a staple in your Play lineup.
Working his way up from the G-League, Khris Middleton has worked hard to earn the Championship Badge that is on all of his Series 2 Bucks Moments. This game-winning jumper from Game 1 of the first round was the literal start to a championship run.
The point guard that made the difference completing the Big 3 is one Cool Cat with corralling the ball and laying it in in the blink of an eye. Jrue has a couple of Moments to choose from but the Cool Cat set is a collector status symbol with lots of the season’s top Moments.
BOBBY! BOBBY! BOBBY! Portis was a fan favorite from the second fans were allowed back into the Fiserv Forum this season. Now, Portis is coming back for a second season. Bucks fans will want to add this debut dunk from his memorable playoff run, which was part of a 20 point, 14 rebound double-double.
Not only does this start with a clean steal of Kevin Durant, it ends with an alley-oop to Giannis. Tucker was a big part of the defense this postseason and this will be his only Moment in a Bucks uniform. So you can remember the title while getting closer to completing the Team Set!