What Happens to Top Shot Values during the NBA Playoffs?
by Jordan Kligman
Winning or losing can take a toll on you in anything. Whether it’s a game of cards or pickup basketball, winning can inflate people’s worth, while losing does the opposite. When you look at the results of the NBA Playoffs and Moment values on NBA Top Shot, there’s a direct correlation to this idea.
As teams advance through the Playoffs and players perform well, their values generally increase. When teams get eliminated, Moment values tend to plunge, regardless of the skill level of the player. This year, not only are players’ floors rising as their teams progress, but with the new introduction of the Championship Year badge, entire team floors have risen.
Let’s look at how winning and losing has taken a toll on Moments and what the Championship Year badge has done, not only to Series 2 Moments, but to Series 1 Lakers Moments, as well.
Trae Young might’ve been the most exhilarating player to watch these Playoffs, and collectors certainly took notice. As Young fought his way to the Conference Finals, his debut Series 1 Moment saw two significant spikes.
Young’s first spike came on June 6, when Young and the Atlanta Hawks upset the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1. Young led the way, putting up a 35 point, 10 assist double-double. After selling for as low as $442 on June 5, the #237 sold for $750 by the end of the night.
Coincidentally, Young’s second price spike came in another Game 1 upset, this time in the Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. In this rush of sales, #85 sold for $990 and #333 sold for $649.
But after the Hawks stole Game 1, the Bucks bounced back to win the series, and his price eventually trickled down. A day after the Hawks were eliminated, Young’s debut had dropped from $395 to $319 in about a day, down to its current price of $300.
Young’s iconic Moment shushing the Madison Square Garden crowd — a 2021 NBA Playoff challenge reward — also took a hit. After selling for around $150 on July 3, it sold for as little as $110 on July 4 after elimination. Since, the /2,747 reward Moment has fallen to a $89 low ask.
Despite averaging 29 points a game in the Playoffs, Young proved that any Moment is vulnerable on the marketplace.
Luka Dončić is already a world-renowned basketball player, and he’s just 22. Heading into the Playoffs, Dončić was pitted against the team that had taken him out the year prior: the Los Angeles Clippers. Last Playoffs, Dončić hit the most iconic shot of his career in Game 4 against the Clippers: this ridiculous 3-point buzzer-beater.
This was a rematch that Dončić took personally. Dončić did Dončić things, but still, the Mavericks dropped the series in seven games. Dončić isn’t at any fault as he averaged 36 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists in the series.
Despite that, the day the Mavericks were eliminated, his 3-point Moment from a year ago began to plummet. From June 6 to June 7, his buzzer-beater dropped over $100, from $830 to $720, and further in the days following.
No matter the fact that Dončić has one of the brightest futures of any NBA player ever, getting eliminated crushed his Top Shot value. Even historic numbers can’t save you from the relentless Top Shot undercutting.
Donovan Mitchell has been the face of the Utah Jazz for four years now and has shown the world exactly what he can do in the Playoffs.
Each of Mitchell’s four years in Utah, he’s led them to the Playoffs, but he was especially outstanding last season as he put up games of 57 and 51 points. This year was no different. Mitchell scored 60 points combined in Games 5 and 6 in the Western Conference Second Round, but it still wasn’t enough. And his Top Shot Moments started to fall in value.
For Mitchell’s Top Shot debut Moment, it took two days after the Jazz were eliminated for a single purchase. And like Dončić’s Series 1 Moment, the next sale was $100 less than the previous — from $684 to $575. Today, the low ask sits at $330 just over a month after elimination.
One factor that helped eliminate Dončić’s Mavericks, and Mitchell’s Jazz was the Clippers’ Terance Mann. Mann, a second-year, second-round pick out of Florida State, wasn’t known to many before the start of the Playoffs, but once Kawhi Leonard went down with an ACL injury, everyone heard his name.
In Game 5 of the Clippers series, he was inserted into the starting lineup; next, Mann scored 39 points and hit seven 3-pointers, eliminating the Jazz.
Because he was such an unknown before, he only had one Moment on Top Shot that collectors could rush to during that performance, compared to the dozens of Moments the stars above have.
In one night, the floor on Mann’s Top Shot debut rose from $10 to over $40; several two-digit serial numbers sold for over $300, including the #3 for $450. If you’re able to identify a player that has the potential to flip the script of a series, this can be the result.
Championship Year Badges: A New Playoffs Value-Setter
Championships are always special; some are once in a lifetime. With the introduction of Championship Year badges, Moments from those winning years are now even more valuable.
On July 8, Top Shot officially announced that Championship Year badges would be added to a team’s championship-winning season. Considering we’re still in Series 2, only two champions have the badge: the Los Angeles Lakers Series 1 Moments (from 2020-2021) and the Series 1 Run It Back San Antonio Spurs Moments from 2013-2014.
Instantly, collectors flocked to Lakers Moments. Every Lakers Moment saw an uptick in price. Even Javale McGee ($40 to $89) and Danny Green’s ($69 to $89) Top Shot Debut Moments jumped up in price, now with the Championship Year badge. Since, these prices have come mostly back down to where they were before.
Not only did the market react to the Lakers, but it also reacted to another team heavily in particular: the Phoenix Suns.
At the time, the Suns were up 1-0 and were favorites to be crowned NBA champions. The floor price for any Suns Moment instantly shot up. The floor for Suns Moments promptly rose from $4 to $10, as collectors rushed to try and add any Moment to their collection with a potential Championship badge.
But now, the Bucks find themselves with the Series lead and a win away from being crowned champions. And as a result, the Suns floor is now back down $5. Currently, the Bucks only have four Moments under $10 while the Suns have 10. It’s a stark contrast to just over a week ago when most collectors thought the Suns would handle the Bucks.
Top Shot Moments during the NBA Playoffs
The lesson to be learned throughout is that prices fluctuate, especially during the Playoffs. Most Moments are down significantly since the start of the Playoffs, whether it be due to the correcting market, fewer NBA games, or their team getting eliminated.
Once the stars are then eliminated, their Moments take a dip, but if you’re able to spot a diamond in the rough, like Terance Mann, big profit could be in store for any collector.