When NBA Top Shot released their Run It Back and Archive set for the Summer 2021 Series, they cracked open a few big bottlenecks but also created a lot of new ones by adding players who previously didn’t have any Top Shot Moments for a Team Set. If that sounds confusing to you, it’s because it is, but after reading this column you will have a thorough understanding of what Top Shot bottlenecks are and why they are so important.
I spoke in-depth in last week’s column about how your Top Shot Collector Score is calculated, and the easiest ways to improve it, so if you want some clarification on Collector Score stuff you should check that one out. But in today’s column, we’ll be taking a deep dive into bottlenecks.
So, what are bottlenecks? They are players who only have one Moment on a given team or Series, thus making them skeleton keys towards unlocking big scoring boosts: 1.5x for Series Team Set and 2.5x for Full Team Set completion.
As a reminder, if you collect at least one Moment from every player on a given team for a certain Series, a 1.5x multiplier will be applied to the Collector Score for every Moment on the completed team; and stacking is allowed.
Now, in the early days of Top Shot before any Series existed beyond 1 and 2, Top Shot would require collectors to acquire every player to ever be featured from either Series to unlock a 2.5x multiplier for a Full Team Set completion. At the time, this required Top Shot users to collect bottleneck Moment from Series 1, because no other option existed for completing the set. However, when the most recent Run It Back and Archive Set was released, previous Series 1 bottlenecks held by the Spurs, Pistons, Mavericks and Pacers were uncorked. So, it's important to know that no bottleneck is truly safe in the long run.
One quick note before we delve into the bottlenecks, only 50% of the Archive Set Moments have been released, so I’d be leery about trying to hoard those bottlenecks as the prices are a bit artificially high at the Moment. I’m somewhat less concerned about star players who have 10-12K Edition Sizes in the Archive Set, but I’m quite nervous about the 20K Moments, as they’re a safe bet to tank once the other 10K is released. For that reason, I’d advise waiting for the next release of Archive Moments and buying the dip on some guys you like, rather than gobbling them up now at an inflated price.
Note: Players who had their bottlenecks uncorked in the recent drop will have an asterisk by their former bottleneck Moment to indicate that it is no longer a bottleneck.
Atlanta – 8 Series 1 Moments / 15 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Dennis Schroder
The Series 1 Dennis Schroder bottleneck is likely safe here because it’s unlikely Top Shot would give Schroder an Archive Moment from his Atlanta days. He’s not that popular of a player and he no longer plays in Atlanta, so that one should be safe.
Fernando, Knight, Snell and Hill are all safe as bottlenecks because they now play for different teams, but Mays, Sweet Lou and almost certainly Huerter’s bottleneck will be broken during Series 3.
Josh Smith is popular enough that he could eventually have another Atlanta Moment introduced later down the line, but I doubt that’s something that would happen for Al Harrington. It’s important to note in this column that for new players added, these bottlenecks are guaranteed to hold for all of Series 3, as there will not be another Run It Back drop this season. However, because Harrington is a 20K Archive Moment with only 10K currently in circulation, I’d avoid loading up on him as a bottleneck until the full set is released.
Boston – 7 Series 1 Moments / 13 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Kelly Olynyk
New player added: Paul Pierce (Archive & RIB)
If the Celtics make more throwback Moments, I doubt a guy they’ll go to will be Kelly Olynyk, so his Series 1 stranglehold should be safe.
Waters, Theis, Ojeleye and Thompson will all be safe as bottlenecks, as they are no longer in Boston, but Nesmith and Williams will almost assuredly have theirs snapped during Series 3, so that’s something to think about if you’re holding them for the bottleneck.
Pierce isn’t technically a bottleneck because he has two Moments, but he only has those two Moments, so that still creates a bit of a wall to a Full Team Set completion. You can never predict what people will go after when completing their Full Team Sets, but his Archive Moment is far more affordable than the RIB. However, because The Truth is such a legend in Boston, this is a bottleneck that will assuredly be broken at some point, but it will hold during Series 3. His Archive Moment has an Edition Size of 10K, so I’m somewhat less concerned about that one seeing a substantial dip, but if it’s a Moment you need for a set completion I would wait for the full set to be released before trying to acquire him.
Brooklyn – 9 Series 1 Moments / 16 Series 2 Moments
I’d expect all the Series 1 bottlenecks to be safe here, perhaps BroLo could get another throwback Moment, but I seriously doubt they’ll do that for KG and Pierce; it’s already weird that they got Brooklyn Moments in the first place.
All the Series 2 bottlenecks here are safe as well, as all these players are on different teams now.
Because Carter and Kidd are such legends, I could see them getting their bottlenecks broken at some point down the line, but they will hold for Series 3. Jefferson’s should also be relatively safe, but he’s another risky Archive bottleneck to hold as he has an Edition Size of 20K.
Charlotte – 6 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Multiple Moments of every player
New Player Added: Gerald Wallace (Archive & RIB)
Martin will likely have his bottleneck broken during Series 3, but the rest of the guys are safe, as they’re all wearing different uniforms this season.
Wallace is another two-option bottleneck, but his Archive Set is another one with a 20K Edition Size, so I wouldn’t be holding that one as a squeeze option.
Chicago – 6 Series 1 Moments / 13 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Buckets could certainly have his Series 1 bottleneck uncorked at some point, but it’ll be safe for all of Series 3.
All the Series 2 bottlenecks here are safe, as all these guys are on different teams now.
I’m surprised that Top Shot elected to go with Tyson Chandler as a Run It Back Moment, as he wasn’t particularly good during his time in Chicago, and they have a wealth of different legends to pull from – but alas – this is a classic Top Shot move. I doubt they’ll make another one of him, so he should be safe, and I’ll be looking to buy some cheap Gordon’s once his full 20K set is released.
Cleveland – 8 Series 1 Moments / 15 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Anderson Varejao
New Players Added: LeBron James (Archive & RIB)
I would be shocked if Top Shot decided to release another Anderson Varejao Cavs’ Moment (or any additional Varejao Moments in general), so Sideshow Bob should be a safe bottleneck for many years to come.
Hartenstein, Prince and Dotson’s Series 2 bottlenecks will be safe, as all these guys play for different teams now, but Stevens, Wade, Osman, Windler and Love will likely have theirs uncorked in Series 3.
LeBron James previously didn't have any Moments in a Cavs uniform, so his two-option bottleneck is an attractive one. His Archive Set Moment's lowest ask is currently $233, so if he dips below that when the remainder of the Archive Set is released, I would consider buying in. He certainly could have this bottleneck snapped in future packs (we've yet to get a rookie LeBron), but this chokehold will last for all of Series 3, making it a required Moment for anyone attempting to complete the Full Cavs Team Set.
Dallas – 9 Series 1 Moments / 13 Series 2 Moments
New Player Added: Jerry Stackhouse (Archive & RIB)
Marion’s bottleneck will hold for at least one more season, but when Top Shot released a new Nowitzki Moment, they uncorked a massive bottleneck at Series 1. Now, because Dirk is a legend and his Series 1 Moment has a TS Debut badge, his old price has held relatively steady, but understanding that these massive bottlenecks can be broken is important. If he were a lesser-known player that didn’t have a TS Debut badge, I doubt his value would have held.
The only Dallas bottleneck from Series 2 that is safe is Redick’s, as he’s now retired, but the rest of the guys (particularly DFS, Powell, Kleber and Marjanovic) will almost assuredly have their bottleneck snapped during Series 3.
Stackhouse is another two-option bottleneck, with his Archive Set being of the risky, 20K variety. He was a great player, but he had his best years in Detroit, so why Top Shot elected to give him a Dallas Moment is a bit beyond me. Because of that, I think this two-option bottleneck will hold for many years.
Denver – 7 Series 1 Moments / 14 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Multiple Moments of every player
Millsap and Harris are both safe Series 2 bottlenecks since Millsap is now in Brooklyn and Harris is in Orlando, but the rest of the guys will likely be uncorked in Series 3.
Miller and Melo (two-option) will be safe bottlenecks for Series 3, but Melo could certainly have his broken by Series 4. His Archive Set comes in an Edition Size of 10K, which is pretty good, but I’ll wait for the rest of that set to be released and try to buy the dip on his cheaper Moment.
Detroit – 7 Series 1 Moments / 14 Series 2 Moments
Mr. Big Shot is another legend who had his Series 1 bottleneck uncorked with the release of the Run It Back pack, but again because it’s a Series 1 RIB with a TS Debut, his Moment didn’t take too big of a hit. KCP is another strange Top Shot decision, and because no one is clamoring for another KCP In Detroit Moment, I think that bottleneck will be safe for a very long time.
Wright, DSJ, Griffin, Doumbouya and Rose are safe as Series 2 bottlenecks, but Lee and Jackson will likely receive new Moments in Series 3.
I would love to get Big Ben’s Archive set bottleneck, but I’ll wait until the remaining 5K of his 10K Edition Size are distributed.
Golden State – 8 Series 1 Moments / 13 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Andrew Bogut
Bogut did get some new Moments in the Run It Back pack, but luckily, they were for Milwaukee and not Golden State, so his Series 1 bottleneck remains safe.
Paschall and Mannion’s Series 2 bottlenecks are safe but expect more Moments from Looney, Lee and Poole in Series 3.
The Bay Area legends B. Diddy and J-Rich will assuredly have more Moments introduced in later Series, but their two-option bottlenecks will be safe for Series 3.
Houston – 6 Series 1 Moments / 18 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Multiple Moments of every player
New Players Added: Stomile Swift (Archive), Tracy McGrady (RIB)
Olynyk, Tucker, Jeffries, Brown, Jones and Harden’s Series 2 bottlenecks will be safe for a while, although I could see Top Shot adding another Harden Houston Moment in a future Run It Back drop down the line. Brooks, DJA, Nwaba and House will likely have there’s uncorked during Series 3, though.
Given the guys that played for that 2005-06 Rockets team (Rafer “Skip 2 My Lou” Alston, Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo), Stromile Swift was certainly an odd choice by Top Shot, and because of how weird it is I’d expect that bottleneck to hold forever. It’s a 20K Moment that will get even cheaper when the entire set is released, but I am regularly flummoxed by the choices Top Shot makes with regards to whom gets a Moment. McGrady will be safe for Series 3, but I wouldn’t count on the bottleneck for that legend lasting forever.
Indiana – 10 Series 1 Moments / 14 Series 2 Moments
New Player Added: Jermaine O’Neale (Archive & RIB)
Here is another instance where we saw the Run It Back pack bust open another Series 1 bottleneck, but again, because these are Series 1 debuts of stars his bottleneck did not see much of a dip. That will probably be true for most Series 1 Moments or triple-badge rookies, but I wouldn’t be so confident with the 40K, Series 2 bottlenecks.
McDermott, A. Holiday, Sampson and Oladipo are now all on different teams, thus rendering their Series 2 bottlenecks safe, but Bitadze, J. Holiday, Lamb and LeVert will most likely get more Moments introduced during Series 3.
O’Neale is another two-option bottleneck, but his Archive Set has an Edition Size of 10K, making it slightly safer. Still, as is true with all Archive Set bottlenecks, I would hold off on buying them until the full set is released.
L.A. Clippers – 10 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Chris Paul
New Player Added: Elton Brand (Archive & RIB)
CP3 could get another Run It Back Clipper Moment down the line, but his Series 1 bottleneck is safe for another year.
Lemon Pepper Lou and Boogie Cousins’ bottlenecks will hold, but Kennard is assuredly getting more Moments in Series 3.
Brand had his best years in L.A., so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him get another one down the line, but for this year at least he’ll have a two-option bottleneck for the Clippers Full Team Set completion. His Archive Moment is a 10K one, so I think that’s something I’ll be looking to buy on the dip during the next Archive Pack drop (Top Shot has not announced when that will be).
L.A. Lakers – 10 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Steve Nash
Nash was at the end of his career in Los Angeles, so I’d be surprised for Top Shot to give him another one wearing the jersey that most people weren’t/aren’t used to seeing him in.
All of the Series 2 bottlenecks will hold here, as all these guys are sporting different jerseys this season.
Making Smush Parker a bottleneck Moment for the Full Team Set completion to Los Angeles feels like Top Shot trolling Laker fans – I’d be curious to know who made that decision. But because he was far from beloved in L.A., I doubt he’ll receive another one in the future. Odom spent his best years with the Lakers, and he was a part of multiple championship teams, so this bottleneck could be broken down the line but he’ll be safe for Series 3.
Memphis – 7 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Marc Gasol
Gasol was a legend in Memphis, so don’t be surprised to see his Series 1 bottleneck eventually broken, but he’ll be safe for Series 3.
All the Series 2 bottlenecks here are safe, but none of them are particularly attractive. McDermott is the most expensive because he’s a quadruple-badge rookie, but he’s literally not even in the league right now.
I’ll be targeting Warrick and Randolph on the dip, Warrick due to his badges and Z-Bo due to his status in Memphis. Battier’s Memphis bottleneck will likely last a good long while, as I feel that he’s not a guy Grizzlies’ fans are clamoring to have more options of.
Miami – 12 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Haslem is still in the league, so he could have that bottleneck broken during Series 3, but Bosh and Allen are safe.
Bradley and Iguodala are safe as bottlenecks, and Oladipo will be safe for a while as we have no idea when he’s expected to make it back to the court, but Okpala and Strus will likely be uncorked during Series 3.
I’m highly intrigued by the Archive Set bottlenecks here, particularly by Mourning, as he could see a decent dip upon full release as he’s a 20K Moment. Wade’s 10K Archive Moment may see a small dip upon its full release, and these two feel like guys you could make a decent profit on buying the dip.
Milwaukee – 6 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Multiple Moments of every player
Merrill is now in Memphis, so his bottleneck will hold, but Nwora will definitely get a Series 3 Moment, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thansis get another one too. So, the only true Series 2 bottleneck here is Merrill.
Bogut and Redd and both bottlenecks, but luckily, they have a cheaper counterpart. As stated numerous times, if you’re looking for a Full Team Set completion of the Bucks – or trying to acquire good Moments to squeeze buyers on – then I would recommend waiting until all of the Archive Set is released.
Minnesota – 5 Series 1 Moments / 13 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Multiple Moments of every player
New Player Added: Kevin Garnett (Archive & RIB)
Hernangomez and Culver’s bottlenecks are safe, but the rest of these guys will likely get more Moments in Series 3.
Garnett is a two-option bottleneck, but because he’s such a legend, there’s not much of a discount on his Archive Set Moment (lowest ask $103). It also only has an Edition Size of 10K, so he may not see a significant dip when the full set is released, but that’s a Moment I’ll have my eyes on when the dip happens.
New Orleans – 5 Series 1 Moments / 11 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Multiple Moments of every player
New Player Added: Chris Paul (Archive & RIB)
Johnson’s Series 2 bottleneck is safe as he’s in Brooklyn now, but Lewis Jr. and Marshall will assuredly get more Moments in Series 3.
These Chris Paul bottlenecks are particularly valuable as they both come from his rookie season, so putting the diamond hands on those makes sense to me.
New York – 7 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Summer 21: Quintin Richardson, Stephon Marbury
STAT and Melo will assuredly get more NY, throwback Moments down the line, but these two Series 1 bottlenecks will hold for Series 3.
Payton and Rivers’ Series 2 bottlenecks will be safe, but they’re also fairly unattractive bottlenecks. You can expect more Noel, Gibson, Burks and Knox Moments for Series 3, though.
Richardson’s bottleneck will likely hold for some time, but I could see Marbury getting another Moment as soon as Series 4. Robinson’s two-option bottleneck looks interesting as these are Moments from his rookie season. His Archive Set has an Edition Size of 12K, so I’ll be looking to buy the dip on him upon full release.
Oklahoma City – 10 Series 1 Moments / 14 Series 2 Moments
Collison should be safe forever as a bottleneck Moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see another OKC KD at some point.
Hill, Brown, Diallo and Svi’s bottlenecks will hold, but these are also unattractive targets. Muscala, Williams, Jerome and Roby could all have their bottlenecks uncorked during Series 3.
I think the newly added Summer 21 Series bottlenecks will last for a very long time, as these are Moments from when the franchise was still in Seattle and called the Supersonic. In other words, if you got the Run It Back pack and landed Lewis or Allen, I would recommend diamond-handing that for a good long while.
Orlando – 8 Series 1 Moments / 14 Series 2 Moments
New Player Added: Dwight Howard (Archive & RIB)
Nelson and Oladipo’s bottlenecks should hold for quite some time. Oladipo hasn’t been good since his initial knee injury and while Nelson was the starting point guard for Orlando’s 2009 Finals team, there are a wealth of other players from Orlando’s history that I think fans are clamoring for.
All of these Series 2 bottlenecks are safe, but none of them are particularly attractive, as they’re either nobodies or have 35-40K Edition Sizes on their Moments.
D12 could certainly get another throwback, Orlando Moment down the line, but this two-option bottleneck should be safe for at least a few years. Keep an eye on his 20K Archive Moment when the set is fully released.
Philadelphia – 7 Series 1 Moments / 11 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Michael Carter-Williams
MCW’s Series 1 bottleneck is safe and I seriously doubt they’ll make another one of these anytime soon. He’s a bust.
Joe and Korkmaz will almost assuredly be getting more Moments during Series 3, so don’t expect these bottlenecks to hold.
Iverson is one of the NBA’s biggest superstars, so you have to figure he’ll have more Moments down the line, but for Series 3 these bottlenecks are safe.
Phoenix – 7 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Leandro Barbosa
Barbosa’s bottleneck should be safe for some time. He was a popular player in Phoenix, but other legends will likely get a Debut Moment before Barbosa gets a second one.
Carter, Moore and Craig are, unattractive, but safe bottlenecks, while Smith will likely get his uncorked during Series 3. Saric tore his ACL in July, so who knows if he’ll play this season? Even if he does, he won’t get out there until later in the year and in a limited capacity, so it could be a while before Top Shot creates another Saric Moment.
Diaw’s Archive Set Moment has an Edition Size of 20K, so you’ll likely be able to get him on the dip for close to $5, but Marion’s Archive Set has a slightly safer floor with a 10K Edition Size. I think anyone who has a Nash or Marion RIB should diamond fist that to the moon.
Portland – 7 Series 1 Moments / 9 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Mo Williams
I doubt we’ll get another Mo Williams in Portland Moment again anytime soon, so that bottleneck should hold for quite a long time.
Both Little and RoCo are back with the team, so neither of these bottlenecks are safe for Series 3.
Jack makes for an interesting bottleneck given his Moment comes with a rookie badge, so I’ll be looking to buy his 12K Archive Moment to try and squeeze this set once all the Archives are released.
Sacramento – 7 Series 1 Moments / 12 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins had his best years in Sacramento, so I could see him eventually getting another throwback Moment for this team, but the Series 1 bottleneck will hold for Series 3.
Whiteside and Robinson III bottlenecks are safe, but Jones, Harkless and assuredly Bagley will have theirs snapped during Series 3. In other words, if you’re looking to complete the Kings Full Team Set, you might want to hold off on buying Bagley, Jones and Harkless.
Wells did have his best season playing for the Kings, so I get why he got a 20K Archive Moment, but I don’t think this bottleneck will have too much long-term value. Martin and Bibby are diamond-hand Moments, though.
San Antonio – 10 Series 1 Moments / 13 Series 2 Moments
New Player Added: Horry
This was the most brutal bottleneck that got broken up during the Run It Back drop, as all three Spurs’ legends had their Series 1 bottlenecks uncorked. The introduction of a cheaper alternative didn’t impact the lowest ask for TP and Manu all that much, but Duncan’s lowest ask went from ~$2,000 to $1,650 when the pack dropped, and then it shot back up to ~$1,800. This is a reminder of how dangerous it can be to hold bottlenecks, as they could get uncorked at any time (or at least with any Series), so the Spurs no longer have any true bottlenecks for Series 1.
Mills, Lyles, LMA and Gay are safe as Series 2 bottlenecks, but Eubanks and Poeltl will likely have new Moments introduced during Series 3.
Because this recent Run It Back set uncorked all these Series 1, Spurs bottlenecks, now the only remaining bottleneck (before we get to Series 3) is Robert Horry, so that 20K Archive Moment is highly enticing to me.
Toronto – 7 Series 1 Moments / 13 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Terence Davis*
Davis’ Series 1 bottleneck was uncorked during Series 2, but it remains a bottleneck for the Series 1 Team Set completion. His Series 2 bottleneck is also safe because he now plays in Sacramento.
Johnson, Bembry and Baynes are the only other safe Series 2 bottlenecks, while you can count on Flynn, Trent Jr. and Watanabe to get more Moments in Series 3.
I think the Bosh and Peterson bottlenecks will hold for a couple of years, at least.
Utah – 7 Series 1 Moments / 9 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Multiple Moments for every player
New Players Added: Deron Williams (Archive & RIB) and Andri Kirilenko (Archive & RIB)
The only bottleneck from this group that is safe is Georges Niang, but he’s a lame one. If you’re going after completing the full Utah Team Set, make sure you pick up a cheap version of Deron Williams and AK.
Washington – 8 Series 1 Moments / 15 Series 2 Moments
Series 1: Otto Porter Jr.
Otto Porter Jr.’s Series 1 bottleneck will hold as long as OPJ doesn’t return to Washington.
Smith, Len, Brown Jr., Hutchison, Bonga, Lopez and Mathews are all boring Series 2 bottlenecks, while Neto and Bryant could be uncorked during Series 3 (although Bryant is still out and doesn’t have an official timetable).
Giving Jeffries any Top Shot Moments at all is quite peculiar to me, but Top Shot gonna Top Shot. Jamison (lowest ask $144) and Butler (lowest ask $155) seem like they’re undervalued bottlenecks at the Moment.