Top 2000s Basketball Rookie Cards on a Budget

Top 2000s Basketball Rookie Cards on a Budget

The current world of card collecting is fixated on big hits and premium offerings. The high-end products get most of the attention and the most expensive cards get all the headlines. While it is good to have a portion of products geared to high-end collectors, the majority of collectors have a limited budget to spend on cards. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the top budget rookie cards from basketball players who debuted in the first decade of the new millennium.

The early-2000's of basketball collecting, specifically 2000-01 products to 2009-10 products, marked a period of change that saw the focus switch from low and mid-end products to more mid and high-end products. This was abundantly clear with the release of the ultra premium product 2003-04 Exquisite Collection. However, this period of time also features the rookie years for many of the top current NBA stars.

While products like Exquisite Collection, Flawless and National Treasure will always have a special place in the Hobby, a card does not have to cost hundreds of dollars to be worth collecting. It also does not have to be a base card from NBA Hoops to be affordable. The following list features ten of the top budget-friendly rookie cards for star NBA players who began their careers in the 2000's. With the proper patience, raw versions of every card on the list can be found for less than $100 and most can be located for closer to $50.

If you looking for something a bit more high-end, view our list of the top Exquisite Collection basketball rookie cards here.

Top 2000s Basketball Rookie Cards on a Budget

Click on the links and images to shop for singles on eBay. 

2003-04 Bowman Chrome LeBron James RC #123

With rookie card values for LeBron James going through the roof, collectors are not left with many great budget options. Bowman Chrome is one of those few quality options left for LeBron James collectors who cannot drop a mortgage payment on a card.

2003 04 Bowman Chrome LeBron James RC Image

2003-04 Bowman Signature Edition Carmelo Anthony #77 Autographed Jersey #/1170

It might be a sticker autograph with a print run of 1,170, but it is still a signed Carmelo Anthony rookie card. As an added bonus, it even has a jersey piece. Not too shabby for a card that has been selling for less than most new boxes of cards.

2003 04 Bowman Signature Edition Carmelo Anthony RC 77 Autographed Jersey 1170 209x300 Image

2003-04 Finest Dwayne Wade RC #159 Autograph #/999

Again, a sticker autograph and higher print run make for an affordable card. The vibrant color scheme and unique look make the Finest rookie card for Dwyane Wade a great addition for a reasonable cost.

2003 04 Finest Dwyane Wade Autograph RC 207x300 Image

2004-05 SP Authentic Dwight Howard RC #186 Autograph #/999

Who says that you cannot get all the premium attributes of a high-end product without paying an arm and a leg? The Dwight Howard rookie card from 2004-05 SP Authentic showcases an appealing design, SP Authentic brand, and on-card signature. Values are held in check by the higher print run.

2004 05 SP Authentic Dwight Howard RC 186 Autograph 214x300 Image

2005-06 SP Authentic Chris Paul RC #94 Autograph #/1299

Another SP Authentic option, 2005-06 saw a dramatic design change for this Chris Paul rookie card. Numbered to 1,299, a quality look and on-card signature make this an intriguing Chris Paul card.

2005 06 SP Authentic Chris Paul RC 94 Autograph Image

2007-08 Topps Chrome Kevin Durant RC #131

Like LeBron James, Kevin Durant's play has resulted in a value surge for his rookie cards. Before the Topps basketball division was closed, Topps Chrome had established itself as one of the top base rookie card products in basketball. Collectors across multiple sports love Chrome, which explains why this Kevin Durant rookie card is in high demand.

2007 08 Topps Chrome Kevin Durant RC 213x300 Image

2008-09 Topps Chrome Derrick Rose RC #181

Topps Chrome takes a low-end product and gives it a premium Chromium finish. It may not excite everyone, but the cards normally look good and maintain strong value. Derrick Rose has had trouble with injuries lately, but collectors are holding out hope that he can return at the same level he showed in his 2010-11 MVP season. Budget collectors should check out his 2008-09 Topps Chrome rookie card.

2008 09 Topps Chrome Derrick Rose RC 181 210x300 Image

2008-09 SP Rookie Threads Kevin Love #98 Autographed Jersey #/399

As anticipation builds regarding the next landing spot for Kevin Love, collectors are finally starting to appreciate the double-double machine in Minnesota. Although the design is uncommon, with a sticker autograph over a jersey piece, the lower print run makes it an interesting autographed rookie option.

2008 09 SP Rookie Threads Kevin Love 98 Autographed Jersey Image

2009-10 Donruss Elite Blake Griffin RC #161 Autograph #/499

Blake Griffin has been a collector favorite since he was drafted first overall in 2009. Despite his popularity, it is still possible to find deals on Blake Griffin autographed rookie cards. One example is the 2009-10 Donruss Elite rookie card, numbered to 499. The design won't wow anyone, but the print run is decent, and it is an autographed Blake Griffin rookie card.

2009 10 Donruss Elite Blake Griffin RC 161 Autograph  213x300 Image

2009-10 Panini Court Kings Stephen Curry RC #128 Autograph #/649

Last, but not least, Stephen Curry has seen his card values explode in the last year. The NCAA tournament star from Davidson has developed a strong collector following, but many of his rookie cards can still be found at great bargain prices. With an art-like card design and mid-level print run, Panini Court Kings is a great option for budget collectors. Despite utilizing a sticker autogaph, the card design does a respectable job of integrating the sticker, and it is not very noticeable.

2009 10 Panini Court Kings Stephen Curry RC 128 Autograph 215x300 Image

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2003-04 Topps Jersey Edition Carmelo Anthony Rookie Rc 99 Rare
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2003-04 Bowman Chrome Rookie Keith Bogans #122
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2009-10 Panini Adrenalyn XL ROOKIE - DeJuan Blair & UD #37 Maverick 2 Card Lot
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JR Smith Knicks Hornets 2004-05 Topps RC Rookie #238 Gold 99
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2009-10 Certified Potential Materials #27 Stephen Curry 304 599 ROOKIE YEAR!!!
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2007-08 Upper Deck Rookie Star*Rookies #240 Brandon Wright Dallas Mavericks***
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2009-10 Adrenalyn XL Tyreke Evans RC SACRAMENTO KINGS NRmt MINT codes unused
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2007-08 Upper Deck Rookie Boxed Set #6 Mike Conley RC Memphis Grizzlies MINT
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Lebron James GRADED ROOKIE!! Gem Mint 10! 2003 04 UD Box Set #2 Miami Heat! -3
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Lebron James GRADED ROOKIE!!! Gem Mint 10!! 2003 04 UD Diary #LJ8 Heat MVP 10.1
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Lebron James GRADED ROOKIE!! Gem Mint 10! 2003 04 UD Box #6 Miami Heat 4X MVP .1
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Lebron James GRADED ROOKIE! Gem Mint 10! 2003 04 UD Phenoms #10 Miami Heat MVP-2
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LeBron James GRADED ROOKIE!! Gem Mint 10!! 2003 04 UD Diary #LJ1 Miami Heat MVP!
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Trey Treutel

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Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. As an adult, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim, and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute.

User Comments

  1. I think Yao Ming deserved a shout out! His 01’02 Topps Chrome RC

  2. Is there a chance that Lebron’s cards will out do M.J. cards??

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