The end of October signals the start of the NBA season.
On October 23, the newest set of NBA Hoops card was released by Panini, the only company in the modern day market with the rights to make NBA cards.
Panini took a unique approach for the Hobby Box this year (the box catered more toward the hardcore fan, as opposed to the “Retail Box”, the box in which individual packs are sold out of from stores). This year’s hobby box, ranging from around $95-$100 based on the retailer, would contain 10 packs of 50 cards apiece.
The quickest way to get through a box of 500 cards.
Rather than detailing every card, as I am sure not everyone is clamoring to discover what Jan Vesely’s 2013 design looks like, here’s a quick breakdown.
Each pack has a good amount of veterans.
In my first pack, I got four rookies. No top tier ones but solid and all 1st round picks – Solomon Hill, Mason Plumlee, Tim Hardaway Jr and Archie Goodwin.
Then came the inserts. Interestingly enough, each pack came with two of each kind of insert set there was.
This first pack had one “gem” in it, the Short Print NBA Championship card. The set is 300 cards but there is a 301 featuring the Miami Heat. When they put this card for the Mavericks title win in their 2011-12 set, I had to spend about $10 to get the Mavericks card later on eBay.
Not pictured in the pack pull pictures are the set’s “variants” in each pack. Rather, here are comparison pictures
First are the gold borders. As opposed to standard white in the set, these gold look a little fancier, as pictured for Kings rookie Ray McCallum. These are packaged about four per pack.
There also is a red back variant. These ones are a little more pointless. Once again, formerly [button size=medium style=less_round color=gray align=none url=http://culturecrossfire.com/sports/basketball/spotted-on-the-pine-archie-goodwin/#.UmyLfHbn_IU]Spotted on the Pine[/button] and member of the Phoenix Suns, Archie Goodwin shows the card looks identical.
But here are the backs.
The red is apparently considered rarer as well. These are packaged three per pack. Seem a little more needless than the gold.
Now, the three “big hits”.
Each box is guaranteed a jersey card. These used to feel like a big deal but have felt pretty meaningless for a while. I got Kevin Durant and still was unenthused.
First autograph card:
Jamaal Franklin, the Memphis rookie.
The recently released Royce White.
So let’s look at some of the important questions:
Complete Base Set?
No. Fairly close. I didn’t do an exact count because I pulled a couple cards of players I didn’t have anything to get autographed at games I am attending this week (Victor Claver, I’m coming for you!)
Biggest missing card?
Probably Ben McLemore’s rookie. I landed most of the rookies with 37 of 40 but McLemore is one I’ve seen selling a bit high on eBay already.
Some would enjoy the Durant jersey but as I said, jersey cards are of minimal interest to me. Franklin is a 2nd round rookie and White is a guy not on a team right now.
In general, I haven’t been satisfied with the “guaranteed” hits. Granted, they have to give some lesser name players to be able to have two signatures in every box but still. When you are dropping around $100, it feels like something more should be inside.
The quality of the big hits was a big reason I waffled on getting this box. After buying several boxes of Panini product last year, I was really only very excited for two hits – an Anthony Davis autographed rookie and a George Gervin autograph numbered out of 25.
Overall, my impression of this set is in the middle, aiming down.
Aesthetically, I feel the set is just “okay-looking”. For a collector like me, who has a focus on autograph collecting, there is a little more to be desired. The gloss will need to be worked on before the card is signed, which did not need to be done for the last two sets of NBA Hoops.
The action shots aren’t great on most. The rookies, one of my primary focuses in the collection, have nice posed shots, but the black background is not the best for obtaining signatures on.
Other than wanting some rookies for my autograph hobby immediately, it seems it may be best to wait for some of the other sets later in the year to come out.