'Data Debates': Kevin Durant 2007 Topps Base vs. Luka Doncic 2018 Prizm Base

univ hero luka durant
Jason Koeppel/ONE37pm

As more and more people enter the sports card market, we at ONE37pm wanted to put out some more content around helping newcomers understand the process of evaluating supply and demand of cards and identifying which cards are potentially overvalued vs undervalued. 

That’s why we're launching this new series that we call "Data Debates."

We’ll break down comparisons between different superstars and see how their rookie card market compares to their career outlook—starting with Luka Doncic and Kevin Durant.

We’ve decided to use Kevin Durant’s Topps Base in this comparison instead of the Topps Chrome because it’s a card that’s gotten a lot of attention and feels like the “standard rookie card”, similar to Luka’s 2018 Panini Prizm. We feel the Topps Chrome stacks up more with Luka’s Silver Version in the Prizm set.  

Both Luka Doncic’s 2018 Panini Prizm rookie card and Kevin Durant’s 2007 Topps Rookie Card have seen incredible spikes since the beginning of 2020. 

To a lot of people, Luka is the face of the new NBA generation & is a potential all-time great player who has proven his ability in his sophomore year and currently in a playoff battle with the Clippers. Given that a lot more attention is on him and a lot more people believe in where he could potentially go, the price of his card has gone up significantly. 

In August, his cards in PSA 10 have been selling for just under $2000.

luka aug2
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

That’s almost double the beginning of August (just 2-3 weeks before the above sales):

luka aug1
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

Just over a month ago in June, they were going for a little over half that amount: 

luka june
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

And at the beginning of March before the NBA season resumed, they were about half of June’s sales.

luka march
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

The supply of Luka’s 2018 Panini Prizm card in PSA 10 is currently 12,844, relatively high when compared to others in his class & earlier Prizm sets, but as long as he continues to get attention & awareness around his performance and potential future accolades (like MVP awards or long term Hall of Fame potential) the demand will potentially outpace new supply into the market. 

According to Doc Rivers, “Luka, to me, is a little bit of both. He has the passing of Jason Kidd, but he has the scoring ability of Larry Bird, and that’s what makes him such a difficult cover.” High praise coming from Doc and he’s not the only one.

luka pop
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

Kevin Durant’s Topps Rookie card has seen some significant growth in recent months too. 

To some investors and collectors, his card is an interesting bet given he hasn’t played all year and somewhat fallen out of day-to-day NBA chatter. When he comes back, he still likely will be the same caliber player that he was, while being the face of an NBA team in the greatest city in the world. According to ESPN’s rankings, he’s #14 as an all-time player with growth potential as he continues to chase championship rings while building a legacy off the court.

When thinking about his post-playing career, KD is an active investor, writing checks into major companies such as Postmates and continuing to explore different opportunities, which could keep him relevant to culture even after he leaves the NBA. He’s the co-founder of Thirty Five Ventures, a company he started with his co-founder Rich Kleiman. The Durant Company makes investments ranging from $250,000 - $1 million in a variety of early-stage companies. KD’s also active in the world of films, media, content, and more—all of which could continue to keep him in the limelight after basketball.  

Recently in mid-August, his 2007 Topps Rookie card was going for around $1,500:

kd aug
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

At the end of July, it was going for around $825. 

kd july
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

A couple of months before that, it was just over $500. 

kd june
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

And at the beginning of March, it was around $200.  

kd march
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

And the population for the card in PSA 10 is currently: 

durant pop2
Image Provided by Team Gary Vee

Evaluating the data

So… what do all these numbers mean when it comes to figuring out what card to invest in, and what’s potentially overpriced vs underpriced? 

As mentioned above, according to the latest PSA population report, there are currently 2,634 PSA 10 graded 2007 Topps #2 Kevin Durant Rookie cards on record. 

In comparison, Luka Doncic's 2018 Panini Prizm Base #280 rookie card currently registers 12,844 PSA 10s (which is expected to continue to grow at a faster clip than Durant's, given its pack recency and continued grading). In other words, the 2018 Panini Prizm is a more recent set and has greater print runs while people are still actively opening new packs. 

Looking at the above numbers of recent sales for the PSA 10 rookie cards, KD's card is selling for $1,474 each, while Luka's are currently averaging a sale price of $1,833. You can find these numbers for yourself by searching eBay’s recently sold listings. 

Backing the total PSA 10 population numbers and current eBay sale prices into a "total market capitalization" calculation for each player, we see the following:

  • Kevin Durant: 2,634 PSA 10s * $1,474/card = $3,882,516
  • Luka Doncic: 12,844 PSA 10s * $1,833/card = $23,543,052

It’s quite an imbalance if you assume that the two players are at least approximately similar in starpower and proven ability to play the game at the highest levels. That’s before you factor in the fact that Kevin Durant’s list of accomplishments is legendary status even if he never played again.

Depending on how we view the current market overall, you could draw a few possible relative “expected value” calculation scenarios to compare and contrast what a more rational price should be, per card.

Scenario #1: Luka Doncic 2018 Panini Prizm Base is properly priced 

Say, for example, we assume that Luka's card is currently properly priced at roughly $1,833 per card (based on his performance and potential), and that demand for the two players' rookies is expected to be similar. This implies that KD's card is considerably underpriced currently based on its per card sale price and total PSA population. Taking Luka's total market cap and dividing it by KD's card population, we find that the expected price per KD rookie in market equilibrium should actually be $8,938 per card. 

Scenario #2: Kevin Durant 2007 Topps Base is underpriced  

But say, for example, we actually feel that Durant deserves a higher market valuation than Doncic given his lengthier career, proven stat line, and two rings under his belt. If we apply a 30% value premium to KD and hold Luka's current market cap constant, Kevin's rookie should be selling for $11,619. That’s assuming that KD is 30% “better” than Luka and that his card price would eventually reflect that. 

Scenario #3: Luka Doncic 2018 Panini Prizm Base is overpriced 

Heading in a more conservative direction, suppose we assume the opposite scenario: that Durant is properly priced, and Luka is overvalued. If we adjust Luka's expected price per card based on KD's current market cap, we find that each of Luka's 12,844 PSA 10 rookies should only be selling for $302/each.

With this all being laid out, it will be fun to see where the market takes these two cards over the next 12 months and even 12 years. Does Luka have an NBA Finals MVP in his future? Most don’t…

Time will tell. Until then, thanks for reading, Hobby fans. Let us know what you think in the comments, including any Data Debate requests you would be interested in seeing.

To learn more about the sports card industry and stay up to date with all the latest news and trends, listen to our weekly Card Talk podcast here and follow us on Instagram @CardTalkPod.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down