Luka Doncic or Trae Young: Which rookie card is better to collect?

Trae Young Luka Doncic (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Trae Young Luka Doncic (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The debate between Luka Doncic and Trae Young extends to the basketball cards community

When Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic were traded for each other on draft night, it would forever hinge their careers together, fair or not.

Just two years in the books for each of these young phenoms, and we’ve heard endless comparisons of their successes or lack thereof. That’s not going to stop anytime soon.

The debate over which one was the better selection and whether or not the Hawks slipped up by not selecting Luka is incessant. As such, each corner of the fandom is impacted in some way.

Perhaps no aspect has been more impacted by the debate than the card collecting hobby, where basketball cards and their values shoot up and down based on player reputation and performance.

Each player has had success in their own right. Luka Doncic is already one of the league’s top stars who has been able to hit huge shots in meaningful moments for the Mavericks. Trae Young hasn’t been able to lead the Hawks to tangible success yet, but that could be more a product of the environment around him than his performance itself. Both players already have been named to an All-Star team.

After two seasons, their career averages look like this:

  • Luka Doncic: 24.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.3 assissts per game. 44.5% field/32.1% 3/73.7% free-throw
  • Trae Young: 23.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 8.6 assists per game. 42.8% field/34.4% three/84.7% free-throw

At this point, two seasons in the book, which rookie card between these two likely perennial All-Stars is better to collect?

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Trae Young rookie card is a better buy-low option with still high value potential

For me, I’m between these two players and their rookie cards, I’m buying Trae Young.

Personally, I’m a Luka Doncic guy all the way. I think he’s better than Trae and has a much higher defensive ceiling. He’s a legitimate star that could lead the Mavs to a title with the ball in his hands. When it comes to Young, I believe he’ll need more around him in order to emerge a victor at the highest level.

But that said, that feeling is not uncommon when it comes to the debate between these two, and as such Doncic’s card value has been sky high for quite some time. It’s unlikely to fall too far due to the high amount buyers have paid for his card. Barring some sort of unforeseen career-altering incident (in which case you probably won’t want to collect his card anymore anyway), the price on rookies for Luka will be high, especially if you want a premium or autographed item.

Trae Young rookie cards, on the other hand, his cards are a bit lower in price. As of late, I’ve seen Trae Young PSA-10 base Prizms go for about $400-450, whereas Doncic’s version of the same card and same grade has gone for over $1,000 multiple times.

Related: Here’s an article on how to decide if you should get your card PSA graded

Similarly, Young’s Rated Rookie PSA-10 has been going from $100-200, whereas Doncic’s is in the $300-plus range.

But is that price jump justifiable between the two? In my opinion, no.

Doncic has had a great career start, but he also has had the luxury of being paired with Kristaps Porzingis in just his second season. An impassioned owner and management who recognizes his talent have set him up for immediate success.

On the flip side, Young had to play without one of his best teammates, John Collins, for 25 games this year due to suspension, and the slow start prevented him from even being involved in the NBA’s Orlando Bubble.

The core around Young is growing and learning just like he is. Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter will soon become better players, and the Hawks should be looking to make substantial additions in the draft, trade, and free agency market still in the coming years, too.

Young in his second year flirted with the scoring title (29.6 points per game and the assist title (9.3 assists per game). That’s meaningful, especially with a lack of notable names put around him yet.

For me, I look at card purchasing from a perspective of what are the greatest potential cards I can get for the lowest price. Doncic is far and away out of my price range right now. Young is much more feasible.

But remember, card buying is a subjective, fan-driven experience. The best advice is to buy the cards you like and the players you like. Turning a profit is difficult and not guaranteed. If you’re a big Luka fan, it’s worth holding out for the right card even if it’s not the “smart” collecting play. If you don’t like Trae Young or his game, what’s the sense in buying?

If you’re interested in Trae Young rookie cards, here’s what’s currently available on eBay.

And for Luka Doncic, here’s what’s currently available on eBay.

Next. 30 greatest draft picks in NBA history. dark