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TRADING CARDS & COLLECTIBLES

CP3 vs. Booker: The Suns Are Hot. Whose Cards Are More Valuable?

Chris Paul and Devin Booker have Phoenix on a serious run. Let’s examine what that means for their trading card markets.

The rampant Phoenix Suns made a serious playoff statement last week, defeating the defending champion Lakers in six games. The series marked a monstrous playoff debut from Devin Booker, and the veteran influence of future Hall of Famer Chris Paul that helped the team push their way into Round 2 in style.

Booker averaged just under 30 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in the series, while CP3 played through a shoulder injury suffered in Game 1 and hit clutch shots of his own, controlling the tempo for a young team brimming with potential. Booker, 25, has been an established scorer for several seasons, is now positioning himself as an NBA superstar after back-to-back All-Star appearances, career-best efficiency numbers, and a penchant for big buckets.

Despite his 36 years of age, Chris Paul has made back-to-back playoff appearances of his own after a three-year layoff. CP3 has been the common denominator for overachieving teams the last two seasons between the Thunder, who shocked the NBA world with a 44-28 record last year, and this year’s even more talented Suns team, which far exceeded expectations with a 51-21 regular season record, the second-best in the NBA.

And in Game 1 of their second-round series against the Nuggets Monday, it was the Point God who absolutely took over in the second half.

So, as the Suns burn hotter than hot, it’s time to examine what trading card collectors can do to take full advantage.

Devin Booker vs. Chris Paul: Whose Rookie Card is a Smarter Investment?

During the 2020 NBA Bubble in Orlando, D-Book began to solidify himself as a superstar and his rookie card values took a big step forward. They did take a subsequent hit as the hype subsided, and it’s worth noting that the basketball card market has generally let out a bit of air over the last few months as investors try to buy the dip with up-and-coming players still finding their stride. Fortunately, Booker’s cards have experienced a modest recovery in more recent times.

As for CP3, the best long-term investments tend to be the safe ones, and is anyone steadier than Chris Paul? Right on cue, the highly-decorated point guard now has an actual shot at the one thing missing from his Hall of Fame career: a championship ring, something that would figure to be a boon to his own card values.

In particular, let’s check out his how his rookie card market has performed of late:

Total daily sales value of Chris Paul’s 2005 Topps Chrome PSA 10 (3/11/20 – 6/7/21, via Card Ladder)

Paul’s PSA 10 2005 Topps Chrome Rookie is selling for just over $1,000 after peaking at $2,500 in April. As Card Ladder notes, there have been 15 recorded sales of the card at an average price of $1,696.71, and the most recent sale came at the card’s lowest price of the past 90 days, $805.

Yes, the trend is currently down, but think about it: After 11 All-Star appearances, nine All-NBA Teams, and nine All-Defensive Teams (in addition to being No. 5 all-time in steals and assists) a championship ring would not just be the cherry on top of CP3’s magnificent career on and off the court, but the kind of accomplishment that sends his card market skyward.

Regarding Booker, his PSA 10 2015 Panini Prizm Base rookie card dipped (like just about all other basketball cards) down from a peak of $1,100, but has surged back in the past week:

Total daily sales value of Devin Booker’s 2015 Panini Prizm Base PSA 10 (3/10/20 – 6/7/21, via Card Ladder)

The card now sits above $800 thanks to Booker’s hot opening-round performance against the Lakers. Note that the market has been much, much busier than CP3’s, with 81 sales over the last three months at an average price of $881.05, per Card Ladder. The low price was $638.33 on June 2, the day before Phoenix closed out LA in Game 6.

All told, if you believe in these Suns making a legitimate title run, an investment in either player should pay dividends. D-Book would further solidify himself as one of the game’s elite, while Paul ticks the final box on his legendary career’s checklist. After not making the postseason in his first five seasons, Booker could see demand in his cards grow with national exposure outside of the smaller Phoenix market; as for Paul, his minutes were a bit limited in the first round due to his sore shoulder, yet his presence was still felt.

And Game 1 against Denver reminded us all that he’s still arguably the preeminent floor-raiser in all of basketball.

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With all the respect in the world to the beastly Deandre Ayton, the Suns will only go as far as Devin Booker and Chris Paul take them. And with the latter toeing the line of superstardom and the former clearly the single biggest X-factor for Monty Williams’ much-improved team, the takeaway for card investors is a simple one.

The young shooter’s rookie wax has tended to be the more affordable of the two, and his market has been more stable overall. But that could change in a hurry if he keeps gunning (and if Paul’s market trajectory keeps inching lower) in the days and weeks to come

But in the big picture, if these Suns keep winning, there’s really no bad long-term investment between their two top stars.

Especially for those who anticipate Booker one day boasting a Hall of Fame resume of his own.