NBA card market: Winners, losers from 2023-24 season

One former No. 1 pick tops our winners list, while another ends up among biggest losers

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The Boston Celtics are the clear winners of the 2023-24 NBA season after securing the 18th title in franchise history. However, the players who benefited the most from a collecting perspective this season might be less obvious.

While one player emerged as a future face of the league, a former No. 1 pick has regressed closer to the point of hobby irrelevance.

Here a look at three winners and three losers from the season.


1. Anthony Edwards

With the overall card market in a price decline, it’s hard to find players with positive price movement over the last six months. In fact, among basketball players with 1,000 graded card sales tracked by Market Movers over the last 180 days, only 16 have maintained positive price movement from beginning to end.

Edwards leads that group with a collective 40 percent increase over that time period.

Possibly even more impressive than the price percentage is the fact Edwards maintained that rate across about 15,000 total sales — the sixth-most among basketball players tracked in that time frame.

The key for collectors was possibly Edwards’ beloved personality as much as his breakthrough on the court. Minnesota’s run to the Western Conference finals played a key role, but Edwards’ emergence as one of basketball’s most likable players likely helped reshape his card market.

Some of the game’s greatest players couldn’t maintain hobby relevance because they just weren’t interesting. Edwards has both the game and personality, and should be a hobby favorite as long as he’s pushing the Wolves deep into the playoffs.

As expected, his 2020 Prizm Base rookie was the key target for many collectors. PSA 10 examples of that card sold nearly 1,000 times over the last six months with a 165 percent bump in price. PSA 9 examples sold well, too, with nearly 900 sales and a 72 percent price increase.

Edwards’ cards aren’t anywhere close to where they were back during the pandemic boom in 2021, but they are moving in a positive direction. An $800-plus card back in 2021, Edwards’ 2020 Prizm Base PSA 10 has ticked back up between $150 and $200 with high liquidity after spending the end of 2022, all of 2023 and early parts of 2024 below $100.

2. Jaylen Brown

A year after fighting accusations he couldn’t even dribble, Brown powered the Celtics through a dominating playoff run that resulted in his first Finals MVP award. Long considered the clear sidekick to Jayson Tatum, Brown might finally have a robust card market of his own.

Now considered a legitimate two-way superstar, Brown saw his graded cards jump 32 percent in price over the last 180 days across more than 1,400 sales tracked by Market Moves. Among NBA players with at least 1,000 graded card sales over the last six months, only Edwards and Jalen Brunson saw larger price percentage growth.

Brown’s 2016 Optic Base PSA 10 was his most popular seller last season with 113 total sales. A $49 card six months ago, that card is currently trending closer to $90.

For collectors, the issue with Brown has long been the concern he might never be better or more popular than Tatum — how collectible can a player be if they aren’t even the best player on their own team? While Tatum’s market is down 2 percent compared to six months ago, his 6,000-plus sales still easily surpass Brown’s volume.

The key for Brown is less whether he can overtake Tatum, but if he can sustain his own card market alongside Tatum’s extreme popularity — only six active players had more sales than Tatum over the last 180 days. The Finals MVP run was great, but the hobby can quickly lose interest even after incredible accomplishments.

For now, it seems like Brown’s market can co-exist with Tatum’s. Brown’s graded card sales jumped 150 percent in volume over the last six months, and how that volume continues is something to monitor, with Brown having far fewer graded cards overall. According to third-party grading tracker GemRate, PSA has graded nearly 127,000 of Tatum’s cards but just over 21,000 of Brown’s.

3. Victor Wembanyama

No player has seen his graded cards drop in price more than Wembanyama over the last six months. So, why is he considered a hobby winner? Because his sales volume is unprecedented.

Over the last 180 days, the only athlete with more graded card sales tracked by Market Movers than Wembayama is Michael Jordan with 45,000 sales. Wembanyama’s 35,300 sales are far ahead of Shohei Ohtani’s 23,600 sales in third place and well ahead of Luka Doncic’s 16,500.

Considered a generational talent, Wembanyama has been exactly what everyone thought he would be — casual fans and experts alike already consider him a future Hall of Famer, while hobbyists have quickly flocked to purchase any cards they can.

PSA announced in April that Wembanyama had finished as the most submitted player during the NBA regular season. According to GemRate, Wembanyama is also quickly closing in on 200,000 total PSA-graded cards. For perspective, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have only a little more than 200,000 cards graded by PSA combined.

Wembanyama’s popularity is undeniable, and the negative price percentage trend doesn’t tell the whole story either. Over the last 180 days, Wembanyama’s graded cards tracked by Market Movers are down 40 percent collectively across about 35,300 sales, but that’s a byproduct of his cards regressing to an acceptable price.

An example of this course correction can be seen with Wembanyama’s 2023 Prizm Base PSA 10. Once regularly averaging over $400, that card has slid down to $122 in recent days. A massive decrease from previous highs, that Prizm Base PSA 10 is now at the same price point as similar cards for Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard despite having a higher population than those cards combined.

Wembanyama’s 2023 Prizm Silver PSA 10 has had a similar trajectory — once regularly selling for $2,000-plus, that card has declined down to recent sales around $900. Despite the drop, that card has recent sales higher than Prizm Silver PSA 10 rookies for Edwards and Tatum and is nearly twice as expensive as Ja Morant’s Prizm Silver.

For any other athlete, this pricing and volume wouldn’t seem real. But for a player with expectations like Wembanyama, it seems just about right in the current market conditions.


1. Chet Holmgren

Fair or not, Holmgren has spent his young career directly compared to Victor Wembanyama. Both tall, thin, highly skilled shot-blockers, it’s understandable why the two are linked.

But while the narrative has pushed them together in spirit, the two really haven’t been comparable on the court or in the hobby — and it has been Holmgren on the losing end.

On the court, Wembanyama finished with all 99 first-place votes for Rookie the Year after pulling away in the second half of the season. In the hobby, Wembanyama has produced significantly more sales volume and has had stronger pricing, too.

Currently floating around $122, Wembanyama’s 2023 Prizm Base PSA 10 has arrived at that price after months of price regression. Holmgren’s 2023 Prizm Base PSA 10 has hovered closer to $80 for most of the season outside of a handful of outlier sales.

The same is true for their 2023 Prizm Silver PSA 10s — Wembanyama’s is close to $900, and Holmgren is averaging around $200.

Overall, Holmgren’s graded cards have declined 21 percent collectively over the last 180 days across the 4,400 sales tracked by Market Movers. Overall market health paired with the growing gap between Holmgren and Wembanyama were likely among the key factors.

One variable to consider in Holmgren’s price decline is his Thunder teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Where Wembanyama is San Antonio’s clear superstar, Holmgren has to play alongside one of the hobby’s favorite guards.

Could Gilgeous-Alexander help bring collectors over to Holmgren? That’s possible. Those watching Thunder games might also just opt for the team’s (current) superstar instead. Either way, Holmgren’s path to price increases has more resistance than Wembanyama.

Historical precedence tells us that only a handful of players at most ever maintain collecting relevance from each generation, and it’s currently fair to believe Wembanyama is significantly better positioned to be one of this generation’s stars than Holmgren.

2. Tyler Herro

Once a hobby favorite, Herro has seen his market decline despite posting career-highs in points and assists last season, while shooting 44 percent from the floor and just under 40 percent from 3. The strong play didn’t result in a deep playoff run, but the fact Herro still doesn’t have the role hobbyists were hoping for is likely hurting him the most.

From a hobby perspective, few rookie classes have been more important in recent years than the 2019 class. Zion Williamson and Ja Morant have long been the leaders of that group. Collectors have hoped Herro could emerge as the clear No. 3, but the hobby actually showed more interest in Coby White and RJ Barrett last season based on sales volume for graded rookie cards.

It’s a frustrating result for Herro who, after five full seasons now, likely enters next season as the No. 3 player on his own team again, barring a Jimmy Butler departure. After winning Sixth Man of the Year for 2021-22, Herro was rewarded with 67 starts in 2022-23 before injuries limited him to 42 games this past year.

Being the best Sixth Man in the league isn’t good enough for hobby relevance, however, and based on past results, it’s hard to see the path forward for Herro as a star among collectors. Even if Butler leaves in free agency, it’s fair to wonder if Miami gives the role to Herro or attempts to land another All-Star.

Regardless, collectors might have seen enough to move on, and the sales back that up. Herro’s graded cards tracked by Market Movers have declined in price 20 percent collectively over the last 180 days, while his 1,500 sales were fewer than 31 current and former NBA players over that period.

3. Cade Cunningham

Cunningham has been exactly the type of player that seemed destined for NBA superstardom and hobby popularity. The No. 1 player coming out of high school, Cunningham was the easy No. 1 pick by the Detroit Pistons in 2022. Very little has gone right since then.

While Cunningham has been great at stuffing box scores with counting stats, he has been a high-usage, low-efficiency player so far for a horrid Pistons team that just decided it was better off paying coach Monty Williams $65 million to not coach the team.

Playoff success isn’t necessary to be popular in the hobby, but Cunningham is likely headed toward collecting purgatory if something doesn’t change in Detroit quickly. Still relatively popular among some hobbyists, Cunningham’s graded cards dropped 5 percent in price collectively across over 2,200 sales in the last six months.

With the overall market trending down in price currently, a 5 percent drop collectively might not set off many warnings. The price point for many of Cunningham’s key rookies should be concerning, however.

Cunningham’s flagship 2021 Prizm Base PSA 10 is down to just $25 after a 20 percent drop over last season. His 2021 Optic Base PSA 10 is at a similar price point, while PSA 9 examples of both cards can be snagged for less than $10.

Low prices are, of course, great for collectors — it’s great to buy cards cheaply, after all — but these price points for Cunningham are likely an indicator the hobby is ready to move on completely.

A continued decline in popularity will eventually result in Cunningham being dropped from checklists for popular chase cards or flagship sets completely, and that’s incredibly unfortunate for a former No. 1 overall pick.

Ben Burrows is a reporter and editor for cllct.