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The 2022-23 NBA Season Trading Card Buyer’s Guide

The NBA Season is about to tip off and we have your hobby guide ready for this season, from the seasoned vets to the rookies to watch.

Prices may have cooled, but interest and activity in the trading card hobby are still at an all-time high. This NBA season is no exception, particularly with the wealth of young talent in the league, combined with the legends headed into the twilight of their careers.

Last season, we saw Ja Morant solidify himself as an All-NBA player while giving the eventual champions, the Warriors, their hardest test of the postseason. We also saw Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown lead the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals, beating Milwaukee and Miami en route. Out west, Nikola Jokic won his second consecutive NBA MVP. What could we expect in 2022-23?

From a hobby perspective, the main attributes collectors and investors look for in an NBA player are points scored, personality, being shorter than 6’10, and ultimately, winning. That’s why you have players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry, who boast such high card values.

Here’s what to expect from the hobby in the 2022-23 NBA season.

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Seasoned Vets

It’s a long season and plenty of electric veterans are looking to win their first NBA Championship or add to their collection. Players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Curry, and LeBron are looking to add to their trophy cases while perennial All-Stars such as Jokic, Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, and Luka Doncic are looking for their first NBA titles. We think these three players are the best buys for this upcoming season.

Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets had an interesting offseason to say the least, but their core is filled with All-NBA talent in Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant. They also have a nice supporting cast to add to their chances to come out of the East. That said, Durant is still one of the league’s best players and his cards remain extremely undervalued for the two-time NBA Champion and 10-time All-NBA superstar.

Keep an eye out for his RPAs from Topps and Upper Deck. An even better buy would be his 2007 Topps Finest Rookie, which has a substantially lower pop count compared to the popular Topps Chrome variation, but it’s around $250 for a PSA 10. The potential for KD’s value to rise is high considering the Nets are one of the best teams in the league.

Jaylen Brown

Is this the season where Jaylen Brown finally goes supernova? Brown was the leading scorer for the Celtics in the NBA Finals and is looking to capitalize on that this season. The Celtics are one of the favorites in the East but face a tough road to make it back to the Finals. If Brown is able to take the next step from becoming an All-Star to All-NBA, opposing teams will have a hard time guarding him and Tatum together.

Brown’s cards are at a fantastic value at the moment. His Silver Panini Prizm Rookie card is available for around $300 in a PSA 10. The pop count is only 250, which is 500 less than his teammate, Jayson Tatum’s. His other sought-after rookies are his Optic and Select, both at $200 and $160, respectively.

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT made his second All-NBA team last season and led the Timberwolves to their first playoff appearance since 2018. The T-Wolves traded for Rudy Gobert to boost an exciting group of players that includes former No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards. Gobert’s addition will allow KAT to space out on offense — essential for one of the best shooting big men in the NBA.

With a pop count of 144, KAT’s Silver Prizm in a PSA 10 grade is a fantastic buy for $600. The T-Wolves are dark horses to come out of the West and can shock a lot of fans. With KAT seen as the team’s leader, his values could climb if he continues his All-NBA performance on the way to a deep playoff run.

Next In Line

The most fun aspect of the hobby is prospecting young talent. This group is filled with players who are looking to take the next step in their careers — either going from serviceable talent to All-Star level, or All-Star talent looking to lead their team to the NBA Finals.

Scottie Barnes

The reigning Rookie of the Year looks to lead the Toronto Raptors back to the NBA Playoffs. Barnes is only 20 years old and isn’t even the most sought-after player in his rookie class. But he should be, as he has the upside to fill the stat sheet on both ends of the court.

Barnes’ Prizm and Optic rookies are relatively cheap compared to Cade Cunningham’s. As a word of caution, the 2021-22 NBA trading cards were heavily printed compared to previous years. Focus on #’d and SP/SSP variations of Barnes rookie cards. That way, you’re not loaded up on base rookies that don’t have much upside compared to the shorter print run of #’d variations if Barnes continues to build as a rising star.

Trae Young

Did the hobby forget about Trae? It feels like an eternity since the Atlanta Hawks’ 2021 NBA Playoff run. Atlanta added another All-Star in Dejounte Murray to compliment Young as he looks to cement himself as one of the best players in the NBA.

Young’s cards exploded in value during the 2021 NBA Playoffs but have since come back down to Earth. Young still made All-NBA Third team last year, but it was an overall disappointing year for Atlanta. His cards are a pretty good buy considering his PSA 10 Silver Prizms are under $500. Trae’s #’d Prizm rookies are a bit more expensive but possess a ton of value. His Blue Ice /99 from Prizm currently has a CardLadder value of $2,700. Compare that to his draft peer Doncic, whose same card lands at $30,000.

Tyrese Maxey

Everyone in Philadelphia loves Tyrese Maxey and he’s arguably in the best position a young player could be in. He gets to play alongside future Hall of Famer James Harden and NBA MVP favorite Embiid. The 21-year-old averaged 20-plus points per game in last year’s playoffs and looks to bring more joy to the city of Philadelphia.

Maxey’s Silver Prizm PSA 10 has a low pop count of 153 but only sells for $470. For someone that has the faith of his coach and teammates, Maxey could become the additional superstar to make a big three with Embiid and Harden. The 76ers are once again one of the favorites in the East, and if Maxey replicates his playoff stats this coming season, this could be an “I told you so” moment.

Rookies

The 2022-23 NBA Rookie Class may not be as deep as its been in previous years, but there are still a couple players to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Their pro-uniform cards are expected to release during the season and when that happens, they could be the stars of this class.

Paolo Banchero

The No. 1 pick to the Orlando Magic looks to bring Disney-like excitement to a city that hasn’t experienced much playoff success since the Dwight Howard era. Banchero was the top pick for a reason and the Magic can only go up from where they were last season.

Keegan Murray

Keegan Murray is in a similar situation to Banchero. Some may say the Kings have nothing to be excited for, but they have a new coach, kept De’Aaron Fox, and added Kevin “Red Velvet” Huerter. Based on the preseason, Murray can add some additional excitement and hope for a team that hasn’t seen the playoffs in almost 20 years. In the preseason, the NBA Summer League MVP averaged 16 points per game, while shooting 70% from the field, with 4 rebounds and 2 steals.

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