With the basketball card market entering a new era, collectors began looking for players who might be considered “value plays” in the market. Some have found Nikola Jokic rookie cards to be an intriguing target. Jokic has gone from a raw young talent early in his career, to one of the NBA’s elite big men with a long career ahead of him.
The Jokic File
The Serbian-born Jokic was just 19 years old when he was taken 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. A seven footer with soft hands and a penchant for playing defense and all the potential in the world, he was an enticing prospect at that point in the draft for any team. His immense and ever growing skill set was on display from very early on in his career and he has shown steady growth each and every season.
‘The Joker’ wasn’t joking around, as his offensive production has increased in nearly every major statistical category over his first four season in the league. The only drop off was his fifth season, the current pandemic-affected campaign, one in which Jokic himself tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-June.
2018-19 saw Jokic selected to his first NBA All-Star team as well as being honored with an NBA First Team nod at the conclusion of the season. He has arrived and collectors have taken notice.
What he may lack aesthetically in athleticism, he more than makes up for with his court vision, precision passing, point guard ball handling abilities and his mid and long range feathery touch. Some have called his ability to flourish at every position in a seemingly position-less game, revolutionary. Only time will tell if that lofty compliment holds true.
Nikola Jokic Rookie Cards
Jokic has only 21 true rookie cards, (with more than one hailing from the Panini Replay and Noir products) so the sheer number of rookies of the Serbian standout aren’t as great as many other top picks and current NBA stars.
With the following list we break down an upper tier, mid-tier and lower tier and offer three legitimate choices at each of the three tiers for the collector looking to add the now svelte Serb center to their rookie card collection.
1. Immaculate Collection RC– This is the highest of the high end Jokic rookies. It’s a beautiful RPA numbered to 99 with a nice on card autograph and patch piece. This is the Jokic Holy Grail of true RCs.
RPAs of top draft picks are rarely cheap and you’ll spend a four-figure price to get one, but if you want the best of the best, this is it.
2. Panini National Treasures RC-In terms of value and cost, this rookie ranks second on the list. This piece is another nicely designed on-card auto numbered to just 99 copies.
3. Panini Flawless RC– Jokic’s Flawless rookie card is adorned with a small diamond and numbered to a mere 20 copies, so tracking one down could prove to be as difficult as guarding Jokic on a fast break.
Middle of the Pack
1. Panini Prizm RC– The beauty of the Prizm brand is that in the vast majority of cases, the base RCs are very affordable for the average collector out of the gate, yet if the player in question launches into stardom or superstardom the value on that once very affordable card can become not so affordable. It’s not exactly breaking news, but the Prizm brand is quickly becoming a flagship, go-to brand for rookie year cards.
2. Panini Noir RC – There are two Jokic base rookie cards in Noir, each numbered to 99. One is in color and the other in black and white. He also has some autographed patch cards in Noir that offer another option.
3. Spectra RPA- The Spectra also offers a jersey and autograph, but this particular version is a sticker auto. While it loses a few points for the sticker, it is still a very attractive and affordable jersey auto RC.
1. Select RC– Jokic’s Select RC is a bargain at the moment. As his Prizm rookie rises to the point of unaffordability to mid-level collectors, the Select, and other secondary RCs, will almost assuredly see a spike, as seen with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s cards. This card will likely start to see gains due to the trickle-down effect.
2. Donruss RC– This particular RC hails from a lower end, very affordable product. As usual, Donruss offers a very timeless, clean design and a nice rookie at a price that is easy on the pocket book. These can be found for the price of a value meal at a fast food drive through.
3. Clear Vision RC- The Clear Vision design is just as advertised. The card design brings back memories of the early nineties acetate cards with a bit of a futuristic feel to them.
You can check out all of the Jokic rookie cards on eBay here and see a live list of the most watched auctions below.