• Vinnie Rullo

Sports Cards: Risers and Fallers for 2015-16 Season

Each year around the All-Star break, we’re always evaluating which players are on the rise and which players are on the decline. A basketball sports card hobbyist is no different, collectors are always trying to invest in the top guys on the rise. I’ve created my top risers in sports cards this season and my top fallers. I’ll also point out a few new potential hall of famers’ cards to grab before they’re elected this April. My risers are the player’s cards that have increased the most this season, while my fallers are guys that have lost value this season, and that I would purchase with caution.


Stephen Curry

Let’s start with Steph Curry…Wow how much higher can his cards increase? Hopefully you purchased some of his autos or rookie cards at the start of the season. I am kicking myself for selling mine in July, I sold his 2009-10 Panini Playoff Contenders Auto Rookie for only $175, and they’re now selling for as high as $600! I wasn’t in love with the Auto on the card, a lot of these were kind of bulgy and not a smooth sig, hence only reason I sold it. I did however cash in on a couple of his cheaper rookies which increased as well, some notable examples are his Upper Deck rookie and Topps rookie (which I previously mentioned was an underrated card). The Topps rookie sells for as high as $50 and the Upper Deck as high as $40. Although Curry is bound to win another MVP and the favorites to repeat as champions again, his cards are very hard to obtain right now without overpaying for. Expect to pay a lot for Chef Curry, it could pay off long term but not sure he can increase to much more in the near future.

Draymond Green

Mr. Triple Double himself is on fire, he already has 10 triple doubles this season and would be an MVP candidate and be getting much more attention if not for Curry playing so well. Green is finally getting a lot more hype this season, and it’s much deserved, his passing ability has gone to a whole new level. The pick and roll combo of Curry and Green has been unstoppable this season. I was a huge fan of Green last year and picked up his Panini Contenders Auto rookie from 2012-13 for just $10, now they’re selling for as high as $55. I also purchased other autos of him as well in the beginning of the year. Some of his auto rookies are still very obtainable in the $25 range. Green’s card continues to go up each month as the season progresses. A guy that’s still worth investing in considering the numbers he’s putting up…go out and purchase a Draymond rookie Auto if you haven’t already! This guy will out work anybody at his position.

Kobe Bryant

The Black Mamba announced on November 30, 2015, that he was retiring after this season, Stubhub tickets to Lakers games have since gone way up and so have his cards. I hope you were able to pick up some of Kobe’s rookies before the season started because they’re starting to become harder to purchase. A couple of examples would be his Topps Chrome rookie, a tough card to find in good condition and many collectors intent on keeping the card in their collections. The card usually sells for $140-$200 ungraded and PSA 9’s are now bringing closer to $250-300. I would recommend buying a Kobe chrome rookie sooner rather than later. These have already increased since the start of the season by at least $50. This is still a card that has room to increase more because Kobe is considered one of the greatest of all time to ever play, and who wouldn’t want one of the best chrome rookies in the last 20 years in their collection. I would also recommend buying his Topps finest rookie, Bowman’s best, and Ex all from the year 1996-97, all of these are very affordable if you can’t get your hands on the Chrome

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Buckets has become the face of the Bulls franchise, this season he’s had two insane scoring outburst games. These breakout games and his consistent play have caused his auto rookies to increase. His cards have since doubled in price since last season. Last season you could have bought a Butler contenders Auto for $25-30. This season they’re selling for $70-80 range. Arguably a top 3 shooting guard in the NBA he’s still worth investing in if you missed out on buying him last season..

Andre Drummond

Drummond started out the season as Mike Breen says with a BANG! Drummond put up 20 points and 20 rebounds games in multiple games early in the season. This caused his cards to increase very quickly, sticking with the theme of Panini Contenders, Drummonds 2012-13 Auto was selling for as much as $65 ungraded. Last season these were very attainable for about $20-25 dollars. Now at the mid-point they have since gone down to the $30-40 range of what you can pick one up for. However, Drummond is still considered a good investment despite only shooting a lackluster 35 percent from the free throw line.

Kristaps Porzingis

KP has had an incredible season thus far with the Knicks, having multiple stellar games and even won a couple of Rookie of the Month awards. As a Knicks fan I’m wishing I could back in my time machine and bought one of his rookie autos for about $50 back in November. His first auto that was available was the NBA Hoops Auto which many were on eBay for only $40-50 dollars in the early season, that same card has sold for as much as $150. The card I am after of his is the Prizm Auto, it’s an on-card auto versus a sticker auto on the Hoops card. The Prizm Auto is selling for about $150, I’m waiting until the price drops a little bit before I buy one. I recommend buying the Prizm Auto if you do want KP rookie auto. The sky is the limit for KP!


D’Angelo Russell

Despite being the #2 pick overall in the draft this past year D’Angelo Russell has struggled early in his career averaging just over 12 points per game and only 3.3 assists. When drafted his strength was his quickness and being able to hit 3s and he’s shooting just 32.6 percent from the three-point line. As for his cards they’re very affordable if you believe in this kid, his autos are only selling for about $50. I’m considering Russell a faller because he got a lot of hype when he was drafted and hasn’t played to expectations thus far. Purchase with caution, I’m not saying he won’t be good just don’t overpay for him right now.

Markieff Morris

Markieff Morris had a breakout season last year averaging over 15 points per game and over 10 boards, this season he is averaging just 10 points per game and has disappeared in the Suns’ rotation. He has been in and out of the starting lineup this season and his cards are only selling for a couple of bucks a piece. Morris was never a guy that got a lot attention when it comes to cards or really a stand out name in the NBA, but I think he’s too talented to not be playing a lot on a bad Suns team. He has upside to development into a solid player on the right team. A change of scenery could benefit him too, and he’s been rumored as one of the players to be moved at the trade deadline. Markieff’s cards are very obtainable if you believe in his talents, his auto rookies in 2012-13 you can buy for $5 dollars. His value could increase if he’s traded to the right team and fits in.

Jeff Teague

After being one of the key contributors to the Hawks 60 win season last year, Teague this year has been rumored as a possible trade candidate. He’s expected to want a max contract after his 2016-17 deal is up. A number of teams are interested in acquiring Teague this year but I don’t think he’ll be moved just yet. His card prices have since dropped since last year as well with Hawks not getting as much hype this season. The 2009-10 Panini Contenders Auto of Teague sells for just $2.50 now. Last year these sold close to the $15-20 range. I would buy one at the $2.50 price they’re selling for. Teague is a solid player who can do a little bit of everything.

Dwight Howard

Dwight was once considered the best overall centers in the game. He has since fallen out of the spotlight and just become primarily a dunker, and not developed an overall game as a center. Howard is also overshadowed now by his teammate James Harden who quietly is averaging almost 30 points a game. Although Dwight has stayed healthy this year, his cards have slipped, one of his go to auto rookies that collectors were after were his 2004 SP Authentic Auto numbered 999 is selling now for just $35. This same card used to sell for as high as $150-200 a couple of years ago. Another example is his SPX Auto numbered to 750 is selling for just $25. You can see how far Howard has fallen in the basketball sports card world. I wouldn’t recommend buying him, there’s many other players I would buy before him.

Potential Hall of Famers New Nominees to Invest in

Allen Iverson

AI was arguably one of the most unique players to ever play in the NBA. He is the reason why we cut our socks and created shooter sleeves when playing basketball. He’s one of the new nominees on the 2016 Hall of Fame Ballot. Iverson’s cards since being named to the ballot have gotten a bump in value. He has a similar card to Kobe in the same set, which is 1996-97 Chrome. As a 14 year old kid I am regretting selling the refractor version then of that card in a PSA 9 for a couple of hundred bucks or traded it for other cards. That same card is now worth $1,000 dollars! A regular chrome rookie in a PSA 10 sells in the $80 dollar range, while the PSA 9 sells for about $15-30 range. I recently bought a PSA 9 for $30 for my collection. I would buy an AI rookie preferably in the chrome rookie as soon as possible before he’s inducted in the Hall of Fame.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq is one of the most dominant centers ever to play in the NBA. There’s a couple of Shaq rookies that I would recommend buying. First his most obtainable rookie is his 1992-93 Upper Deck Rookie, which has like a 3D image of Shaq dunking. The Upper Deck rookies sells for $5 ungraded and upwards to $350 in a PSA 10. Another nice Shaq rookie to get is his 1992-93 Hoops Draft Redemption card,which only has a print run of 25,876. This card sells for $30 ungraded and $80 in a PSA 10 (I need to get this one soon). The last one I would recommend getting is his 1992 Classic Gold Auto, numbered to only 8,500 print run. This is a unique card because it’s considered his first rookie auto, and a rare on-card auto in the early 90’s. These sell for $75 ungraded and $200 in a BGS 9.5. All of these cards should increase once he gets elected to the Hall of Fame. Hurry up and buy all three of these Shaq cards!

Yao Ming

Although Yao played just seven seasons he was one of the most dominant centers in NBA history. His 7’’6 height and ability to post made him very fun to watch. A couple of his key cards that are worth investing in him are his 2002-03 Topps Chrome rookie, you can purchase that for $5 and its a nice rookie for a collection. If you decide to purchase a Yao auto I would buy the 2002-03 SPX Auto serial numbered to 999, they usually in the 40-60 range. Lastly, I’d look into getting his 2002 Upper Deck Ultimate Auto, they’re serial numbered to 250 and one of his best cards. A BGS 9.5 recently sold for 200-275 range.

Who are your risers and fallers this season in basketball cards? There’s always the next guy up that’s going to increase a ton in value, while at the same time it’s a gamble investing big dollars in certain players if you don’t purchase with caution. A word of advice buy rookie and rookie autos, they’re are the best investments. The Hall of Fame announcement is scheduled for April 4th at the Men’s NCAA Final Four in Houston, Texas.

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