The 2022 NBA Draft produced some incredible young talent that is already making a big impact in the league during their rookie seasons. But the 2023 draft class is shaping up to be one for the ages, with several players at the top who have superstar potential. For sports card collectors and investors, this means now is the perfect time to start picking up rookie cards of the top prospects before they make their NBA debuts and increase exponentially in value. Here's a look at the key NBA rookies to watch in 2023 and which of their rookie cards could be worth collecting.
The name on everyone's mind going into 2023 is Victor Wembanyama, a 7'4” French phenom who is considered the most hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James. The 18-year-old has been playing professionally in France and is an absolute unicorn at center with his rare combination of size, athleticism, defensive ability, and shooting touch. He is projected to be the clear #1 overall pick in the 2023 draft.
As soon as Wembanyama starting getting mainstream attention over the last year, his early rookie cards began selling for big prices despite the fact he hasn't played an NBA game yet. The Victor Wembanyama 2022 Bowman Chrome University Base #101 is the current Wemby grail with recent sales surpassing $2,000.
The 2023 Topps Allen & Ginter Victor Wembanyama #271 is also selling like hot cakes.
For a more affordable Wemby card try the 2023-24 Panini Instant NBA Draft Night Victor Wembanyama #DN-1 with prices under $100.
Once he makes his mark on the league, his prices will likely skyrocket even more. Now is the time to try to acquire some Wembanyama rookies before he becomes completely unobtainable to the average collector.
Another captivating prospect is Chet Holmgren, the 7-foot, 195 pound big man who was the #2 pick in the 2022 draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Holmgren possesses a truly unique skillset as a slender shot-blocking, three-point shooting unicorn. He has flashed enormous potential in summer league play. However, a foot injury suffered in a pro-am game over the summer sidelined him for the entire 2022-2023 season.
Despite the injury, Holmgren remains one of the most intriguing long-term prospects in the league. As soon as he returns and shows he is healthy, his rookie card prices could quickly shoot upward. His 2022 Panini Prizm Base RC is currently around $175 raw and over $1000 graded PSA 10. More rare numbered parallels are going for thousands already. This is certainly the time to invest in Holmgren while his prices remain depressed due to injury uncertainty. If he comes back without missing a beat, his cards will likely double or triple in value very quickly.
After Wembanyama, The 19-year-old point guard is widely viewed as the best guard in the class with franchise changing talent. He possesses elite athleticism and playmaking ability at 6'2”. After reclassifying to the 2022 high school class, Henderson was the #1 ranked player in the country.
He was drafted 3rd overall by the Portland Trailblazers.
Instead of NCAA basketabll, he committed to the NBA G League Ignite developmental team. This means he is already collecting a salary and signing autograph deals. Henderson is also getting plenty of hype as card companies try to capitalize on the demand for his cards as he begins his NBA career.
His 2022-23 Ignite cards have already been selling for big prices, with rare numbered parallels going for thousands. His Panini Prizm Draft Picks Base RC can be found for around $100 raw. Graded gems and lower numbered parallels are fetching from $500 to well over $1000. With his elite talent, exciting style of play, and appeal as the next great point guard, Henderson's rookie cards are poised to be sound investments once he tears up the NBA.
The final elite prospect to have on your radar is Brandon Miller, the 6'9" wing out of the University of Alabama. Miller has taken the college basketball world by storm as a freshman, putting up massive numbers and establishing himself as a likely top 5 draft pick in 2023. He has offensive superstar potential as a lethal scorer and shooter with size and athleticism. He was drafted 2nd overall by the LA Clippers.
Miller is the type of do-it-all wing that tends to translate very well to the modern NBA. As a result, card companies and collectors have taken notice of his enormous potential. His NCAA cards have already risen in price this season based on his performances. But his true rookie cards will come with the 2023-24 releases after the NBA season is under way.
Raw base Prizm rookies of a top 5 pick like Miller will likely settle in the $50-100 range at first. But if he lives up to expectations quickly, those prices could easily double within his rookie season. It's best to try to invest in his numbered parallels as those will see the biggest price increases into the hundreds or thousands over time if he becomes an NBA star.
The NBA always produces some outstanding talent year after year. But every decade or so, a draft class comes along that shapes the future of the league with superstar prospects. 2023 is being projected as one of those special classes, led by the likes of Wembanyama, Henderson, Holmgren, and Miller. Now is the ideal time to buy into their enormous potential by adding their key rookie cards while they are still somewhat affordable. Patience will be required, but the long term investment upside in these four 2023 NBA rookies is nearly unmatched if you can get in early on their Prizm and other top rookie cards.