Card prices changing with player performance is nothing new. We saw it firsthand during last year’s playoffs. Collectors are tuned in, and are clearly buying and selling based on what happens on the court.

We saw it again this season. Injuries, trades, and player performance all appeared to affect prices directly and indirectly. For example, not only did LeBron James’ injury have a negative impact on the prices of his cards, but it reverberated positively in the prices of Nikola Jokic’s cards.

Why did LeBron’s injury affect the prices of Jokic’s cards?

LeBron and Jokic had clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the MVP race at the time of the injury. LeBron even seemed to have a slight advantage. But then he got hurt. That led to Jokic’s MVP odds spiking, and so his card prices followed suit.

With this example in mind, it is no surprise that the playoffs are resulting in more volatility in card prices. Let’s look at some of the Biggest Winners and Losers so far.

Gainers:

  1. Ja Morant

Morant has been a prime example of how playoff performance can impact card prices. His collection initially tanked after losing to the Warriors on the last day of the regular season. It was a big game, with the winner taking hold of the 8 seed.

Morant played poorly in this game, scoring just 16 points. That game was played on a Sunday; between Sunday and Tuesday Morant’s Player Collection dipped 11%.

Then, prices began to climb back. When the Warriors and Grizzlies met again with a spot in the playoffs on the line, Morant dominated. He scored 35 points, along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. His Collection quickly rebounded, and by Saturday had gone up 15%.

After leading the Grizzlies to a win in game one vs the Jazz, Morant’s Collection went up another 2%. If he guides them to a series win, where might his collection go?

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo

The two-time MVP has seen a clear increase in the value of his Player Collection since leading the Bucks to a convincing win over the Heat in game two. He scored 31 points, in addition to 13 rebounds and 6 assists. Ultimately, this is the type of game we have come to expect from Giannis. Perhaps it was the Bucks’ sheer dominance over the very team that eliminated them last season that has collectors thinking about a possible championship for Giannis and the Bucks.

Giannis’ Player Collection is up 17% as of this writing, and rising. Could this be the Bucks’ year?

3. Luka Doncic

Luka was unsurprisingly phenomenal in game one vs the Clippers. He finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists for his third career playoff triple double…in seven career playoff games. He followed it up with an even better performance in their game two win, scoring 39 points.

Between Saturday and Wednesday, his Player Collection increased by ~6.5%, and rising. Just imagine if he hits another shot like this...

4. Devin Booker

Booker and the Suns took down King James and the Lakers in game one of their first round matchup. Booker put on a masterful performance, scoring in just about every way imaginable on his way to 34 points. It’s no surprise his Collection jumped immediately following this game. Between Saturday (the day before the game) and Monday (the day after the game) there was more than a 3% increase in value.

Look for more of the same if Booker is able to lead the Suns to a series win over the defending champs.

Losers:

  1. Stephen Curry

Even Steph’s utterly dominant near-MVP regular season couldn’t save his card prices from dipping after missing the playoffs.

Steph dropped 37 points in a loss to the Lakers during their first play, setting up a showdown between the Grizzlies and Warriors for a spot in the playoffs. Curry then played yet another ridiculous game scoring 39 points, even though it resulted in a season-ending loss vs the Grizzlies.

Despite Steph’s strong individual performance, his cards prices fell, proving just how important the playoffs are in this cruel game of sports cards.

Playoff fluctuations are real, and missing the playoffs will hurt Player Collection value.

Between Friday and Sunday, Steph’s Collection was in free-fall, down 28%. His collection has yet to rebound, down another 5.5% since Sunday.

2. Tyler Herro

Last year’s playoff darling finds himself on the outs so far this postseason. As the card market was starting to boom during the NBA playoffs last season, Tyler Herro’s cards followed suit. As a rookie, his 37-point game in the Eastern Conference Finals represented the apex of his card value.

But the Miami Heat are off to a rough start this postseason, down 0-2 to the Bucks. With just 4 points in their last game, Herro is struggling.

Collectors have noticed. Since Friday, Herro’s Player Collection is down ~6.7%.

What Does All Of This Mean?

Well, we think it means that a rapidly moving card market only grows more volatile during the playoffs. Prices fluctuate in real time. And not just game to game, but half to half.

It’s certainly a new kind of action.

Dominant performance on the court that leads to wins will generally boost the value of Player Collections. Poor performance and elimination typically has the opposite effect.

So consider yourself empowered - empowered to use your knowledge and perspectives to buy (or sell) Player Collections of players in whom you believe in (or don’t). The playoffs are an opportunity to capitalize on increased price volatility and your views of what will happen next.