Compared to the basketball sets that Topps had issued before it, the design of the 1973-'74 set may seem like it was toned down.
Card fronts show a player picture. Some cards show game action, while others were simply poses in front of a wall. In the lower left corner is an image of a basketball floating over a hoop. Inside that basketball is the player's position, with his team and name placed to the right. Once again, there was a small problem due to two teams called the Rockets, so Houston was added to the NBA's franchise. Backs were once again given a vertical format, and a cartoon was placed at the top of the card. The card number appears below that in a little graphic basketball, along with a name and position. A red box contains some vitals, and a green box has a write-up about the player's career. The year-by-year stats appear below that, and a copyright line specific to the player's league runs across the bottom.
For the first time, All-Star players are not given a subset. Instead, the distinction is appears on their regular card, which is given a different design. For some reason, each of those players also gets a white inset photo with a floating head shot.
The NBA/ABA split is the same as the previous year's set, with NBA players appearing on cards #1-176 and ABA players showing up on #177-264. The subsets are also split by leagues: NBA statistical leaders are featured on #153-158, while the ABA leaders took up cards #234-239. The playoffs are also recapped, with the NBA postseason chronicled on cards #62-68 and the ABA on cards #202-208.
The main rookie cards in the set feature Bob McAdoo, Paul Westphal and Chris Ford.