Their numbers are dwindling but Chris Paul’s rookie cards date back to a time when Topps and Upper Deck still enjoyed NBA trading card licenses. Fans of the era remember Paul’s 2005-06 Topps #224 and 2005-06 Upper Deck #230 base cards, each of which can be had for a very small investment, but it’s the numbered versions of higher-end products, especially those with certified autographs, that carry premium value.
The 2005 Draft
After two big–and efficient– seasons at Wake Forest many thought Paul would be the top pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. The Milwaukee Bucks instead went for center Andrew Bogut, who they eventually shipped to Golden State after an injury-plagued start to his career. Atlanta picked forward Marvin Williams with the second pick. Portland had pick 3, and one rumor at the time was that the Celtics were offering Paul Pierce for that choice and would use it on Paul. The Utah Jazz did make a trade to get Portland’s pick, and they did draft a point guard, but chose Deron Williams. That left Paul available to the Hornets at number four and he didn’t disappoint, winning the on the Rookie of the Year award after averaging 16.1 points, 7.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
Paul was selected to the All-Star Team in 2007-08, the first of nine straight selections. After six years with the Hornets, a trade to the Lakers was nixed but eventually he was sent to the Clippers in 2011 where he spent six more seasons before leaving to play with James Harden in Houston in 2017. He led the NBA in assists four times and is the league’s all-time leader in steals.
Even those not familiar with his career might know him from the long-running “Chris/Cliff Paul” ads for State Farm insurance.
Chris Paul Rookie Cards
2005-06 Exquisite Collection #46 is without a doubt Chris Paul’s best rookie card in the eyes of collectors and dealers. Numbered to just 99, with an autograph and decent-sized patch, these are obviously limited and typically sell for $1,500-$2,500 when available. He has other cards in 05=06 Exquisite, including an Extra Exquisite Paul RC numbered to just 5.
Another great Paul rookie is his 2005-06 Topps Chrome #168 and its various parallel versions. X-Fractors numbered to 90 typically bring $500 and up. Grading plays a huge role in the value of the numbered parallels but a few hundred dollars is usually enough to secure a nice, high-grade example with a reasonably low print run while the base card runs less than $20.
Ultimate Collection is another popular choice for those who love the old Upper Deck basketball issues. Numbered to 250, the Ultimate Rookie Signatures autograph cards are numbered to 250 yet are still usually under $300. He also appears on an unnumbered Ultimate Signatures card dual auto and dual relic cards.
Upper Deck’s 2005-06 SPx offers an intricate design with a jersey piece in the middle and a clean and bright autograph over a white portion of the card. It is numbered to 750 and usually costs $200 or less. There’s a very similar Spectrum version numbered to 25 that will set you back a lot more–if you can find one. He’s also featured on a few regular and relic cards in this issue that have proven popular.
With a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame reserved for him, Chris Paul rookie cards seem somewhat undervalued. Winning a championship would certainly cement his case as one of the top point guards of all-time.
Below is a list of the current most watched Chris Paul rookie cards on eBay.