Lone Superfractor

One of my favorite boxes I’ve opened was Topps 1952 Style from 2005-06. Danny Granger’s rookie season, looking for Chris Paul rookies, and a vintage design made for a great card set. It’s one of the few card sets that I’ve completed.

The best card I opened from my box remains the only Superfractor in my collection to this day. Fortunately I opened an All-Star in Tracy McGrady.

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I probably could have sold this for a decent return and could probably still get one now, but it remains in my collection and I don’t particularly want to part with it. Maybe someday I’ll find a McGrady collector where this would fit in and that will be its destination.

Have you opened a Superfractor? What set it is from, what player, and do you still have it?


Medieval Basketball Cards

I’ve been looking forward to seeing cards from the Excalibur brand in person. The Crusade insert set seems to be popular for both baseball and basketball collectors and has a certain nostalgia factor due to the 1998 baseball Donruss Crusade set.

I picked up a 15 card pack of 2016-17 Excalibur and I came away impressed.

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Highlights from the base cards for me. The Pacers released Monta Ellis and I can’t say I’m upset to see him go. Eager to see Oladipo and Lance Stephenson take his role. As far as the design, I’m a fan. I much prefer shots of the players in action than just the player alone on a designed background. The Excalibur logo, font, and color schemes all look great.

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Picked up four rookies from this pack, and these two stand out. Saric will be a solid contributor on a rising Sixers squad. I’m also never upset to pull a Spur. Is there anyone who doubts this guy is going to have a nice career? And there’s my first card of Oladipo since he’s been a Pacer. This one is a retail-only parallel.

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Each of the Target packs have two Camo Crusade cards, on average. Enjoyed seeing a new card of the Admiral, and it’s hard to complain about pulling one of the top players in the league in Love, even if he is on the hated Cavs.

The other cards I pulled, for the set builders out there who may have interest:

10 – Gerald Green
40 – Wesley Matthews (George Hill sighting!)
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83 – Lou Williams
117 – Willy Hernangomez RC
131 – Evan Fournier
178 – Tomas Satoransky RC

 


Pickups of the Week: Ben Hansbrough and Damjan Rudez autographs

Autographs from a couple of past Pacers came in the other day. Ben Hansbrough appeared in 28 games during the 2012-13 season for the Pacers. His best game as a Pacer came on April 17th, 2013 against the 76ers. He scored 11 points and handed out 3 assists in 17 minutes. He also appeared in six playoff games during the Pacers’ run to the conference finals, where they lost to Lebron’s Heat in seven games.

Rudez has three NBA seasons under his belt, each with a different team. He started out with the Pacers in 2014, playing in 68 games averaging just over 15 minutes per game. Primarily a three-point specialist in his time with the Pacers, he shot over 40% from long range. Originally from Croatia, Rudez scored in double-figures in nine games. He also played for Croatia in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, appearing in two games. Croatia finished 3-3, falling in the quarterfinals to eventual runner-up Spain.

The Hansbrough is from 2012-13 Panini Innovation basketball from the Innovative Ink set. It looks like the last Innovation set came out for the 2013-14 season. The 2012-13 set also included Stained Glass cards.

The Rudez autograph is from 2014-15 Panini Court Kings. While I’ve never opened a box of Court Kings, I’m a fan of the brand. I think I would bust a box if there were more packs/cards per box. This release had ten cards per box. Would have been nice for this to be an on-card autograph but I like the design on this card.

The most satisfying part of this pickup is being able to add these two on my All-Time Pacers autograph list.


Pulling a Hokie, a rare event

I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2008. Hard to believe we’re closing in on ten years. I attended nearly every Hokie home basketball game during my four years at VT, and am arguably a bigger Tech basketball fan than football (although I obviously cheer for both). Buzz Williams has the program on the rise, and I’m excited to see what the program can do coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since I was in school.

The Hokies currently have one active NBA player who finished his career at VT (another who played for the Hokies and transferred, Dorian Finney-Smith) and generally have none, so it’s rare to see a Hokie with a basketball card for me to pickup. That one active player is Malcolm Delaney, who’s positioned himself as the backup point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, averaging just over 17 minutes per game during the 2016-17 season.

2016-17 Panini Threads Malcolm Delaney #161

When I opened a 15 card pack of 2016-17 Panini Threads after a recent trip to Target, pulling a card of Delaney wasn’t even on my radar. I had no idea he was in a current card set. Surprised and pumped are the two words to describe my mood after I found this card a little over halfway through the pack. This is the only set I’m aware of Delaney appearing in so far. I’m hopeful he’ll keep his backup point guard role and appear in more sets next season.

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Here are the highlights from the rest of the base cards. Whiteside has really blossomed in Miami into a top tier player. Rodney Hood has become a key player for the Jazz, and will be especially critical with Gordon Hayward leaving in free agency. I also had to highlight the only Pacer out of the 15 card pack, Jeff Teague. I was not a fan of swapping George Hill for Teague, but now both players have moved on to other teams. Teague recently signed a deal to go to Minnesota, and the Pacers brought back Darren Collison and traded for Cory Joseph. I’m OK with the combination of players the Pacers have at the point guard spot now. Jeff never seemed to find his groove with the Pacers. Regardless, good luck in Minnesota! That is going to be an exciting team to watch.

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Here are the non-base cards from the pack. I’m certainly a sucker for parallels like this Dazzle parallel, although all the variations can be a little much. Could do worse than Wesley Matthews as the pull.

The Hardwood Pioneers have Dazzle variations as well- this Gail Goodrich is the plain verison.

Here’s a complete list of the cards I pulled in case folks out there are tackling the set.

10 Tony Snell
26 JaMychal Green
40 Hassan Whiteside
55 Tyler Johnson
68 Marvin Williams
83 Rodney Hood
97 Luc Mbah A Moute
112 Jonas Valanciunas
119 Jeff Teague
136 J.J. Barea
161 Malcolm Delaney RC
184 Skal Lasissiere RC
190 Juan Hernandez RC
130 Wesley Matthews Dazzle Parallel
14 Gail Goodrich Hardwood Pioneers

I’m interested in trading for other Malcom Delaney cards from this set (parallels, autographs), as well as other Pacers from this set.


Pickups of the Week: Three Card Mailday

I saw a Duncan insert on ebay a few weeks back for a reasonable price so I of course had to look at other items from the same seller. I added a two more cards to my lot and checked out. Outside of Pacers I am collecting Tim Duncan and Grant Hill, mainly interested in 90s inserts at this point. Let’s get to the cards!

2000-01 Fleer Triple Crown Heir Force 01 Tim Duncan #14

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The first is the least exciting of the three, and it also scanned the worst. You can just barely see Duncan’s face in the background of this one. The HF01 repeated on the left side just seems to be there to fill up space. I remember opening packs of Triple Crown that came in those boxes with a variety of hobby and retail packs. Tried to find the odds on this insert set online but couldn’t find it. I’m thinking the odds were not too tough on these.

1998-99 Skybox Thunder Boss Grant Hill #6

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This one is much more exciting. The Boss insert was 1:16 hobby packs, so an average of 2 per box. It’s no Noyz Boyz at 1:300, but it’s an attractive insert set with a unique design. I’m a fan.

2000-01 Hoops Hot Prospects Hoops Originals Tim Duncan #2

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This is the card I was searching for originally. Beautiful design and a die-cut too. These were inserted 1 per 24 pack box, the same rarity as a rookie jersey, and with the rookie class that year I think I’d prefer pulling one of these.


A Few Loose Packs

After deciding I was restarting my basketball collecting, a natural early step towards that was heading to the local target to pick up a couple of packs. I came away with two packs of 2016-17 Donruss and one pack of 2016-17 NBA Hoops. Here are the highlights of the packs.

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First the best of the base cards from the Hoops pack. Sabonis is the 20 year old son of basketball legend Arvydas Sabonis. He played in the Rising Stars game for the World Team on Friday night as part of NBA All-Star weekend. He’s averaging 6.1 points per game in 21.7 minutes per game off the bench for the OKC Thunder after being the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft.

Dirk Nowitzki needs no introduction. We go from a rookie to one of the top international players of all-time. He’s averaging 20.2 points per game over his last 5.

And John Wall is having his best season yet as the Wizards have surged up the Eastern Conference standings.

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The insert from the first pack is a Faces of the Future card of Heat forward Justice Winslow. In my opinion this insert set would look a whole lot better if the color scheme matched the team’s uniforms.

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The best of the base cards from the Donruss packs. I’d be glad to pull just about any card of Anthony Davis these days. Remember when Jeremy Lin was a hot pull? I like the Donruss design a bit better than the Hoops base design.

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The only rookie I pulled from the two Donruss packs that was a first round selection was Siakam, the 27th pick in the draft for Toronto. As with many rookies his playing time has been inconsistent in his rookie season.

Hall Kings is an insert set I can get behind. Sharp design with multiple images of the player. Can’t recall pulling too many cards of Dantley. He did play for the Pacers during the 1977-78 season. This means I do need his autograph for my Pacers autograph collection. He was a six-time All-Star, all with the Jazz. Though his best statistical seasons were with the Jazz, he is probably pictured as a Piston because of the team’s deep playoff runs in 1987 and 1888, where they lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals 4-3 and in the NBA Finals to the Lakers 4-3, respectively. Just looking at the numbers for Dantley, the thing that jumps off the page to me outside of averaging over 30 ppg in four seasons, is his career field goal percentage as a small forward. 54% for his career, good for 27th best in league history. If you look at that list, though, you’ll notice most players as power fowards or centers.

Lastly we have a red press proof #’d out of 75 of Lou Williams. There’s also silver /299, purple /199, Red /25, Gold /10 and Black 1/1s. So while I got one of the rarer press proofs, I would have preferred a different player. Nice shot of Lou going in for a jam, though.

I generally like to at least sample each product that shows up in Wal-mart or Target with a pack or two. I prefer Donruss to Hoops this year and I look forward to the Optic brand to try to pick up some shiny Pacers.


Box Break: Pack 1 from 2013-14 Pinnacle Jumbo Box

My wife surprised me with a box of 2013-14 Panini Pinnacle basketball for Valentine’s day. What better gift than a box of cards. It’s been years since I’ve busted a hobby box of anything and I couldn’t be more exited. I’m trying to limit myself to a pack a day. This box has 10 packs with 30 cards per pack. The base set is 300 cards. Each pack is loaded up with current and retired players, rookies, and inserts. Here’s what pack 1 looked like.

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The best of the current player base cards and a rookie of Victor Oladipo. Oladipo plays for the Thunder now, and was the #2 pick in the 2013 draft. Definitely one of the more exiting rookies of this class.

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A few of the retired stars from this pack. Love the mix from this product. Mark Price was a 4-time all-star and is now the head coach at UNC Charlotte. Can’t go wrong with adding new cards of Scottie Pippen.

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These scanned pretty terribly. They look much better in hand. The Barnes in particular looks pretty sharp. The Gervin is a ‘museum collection’ parallel, a parallel of the base set that makes it look like the other inserts. The Haslem is an Artists Proof, of which there are several varieties (regular, blue, red, green, and black). The first true insert from the box is a Team Pinnacle insert of former Warrior Harrison Barnes. The back of this one has Vince Carter on it.

I forgot to mention each insert has its own set of Artists Proof parallels. If you like parallels and inserts, pick up a box of this stuff.

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The next set of inserts (yes, we are still in the same pack of 30 cards) features a couple of Spurs, including one card that fits right into my Duncan player collection. Kawhi will make sure the Spurs stay relevant for years to come. Not only relevant, but championship contenders I should say. Dion Waiters probably wouldn’t be featured in an insert set if it came out this year, but the 2020 insert set features many of the games current young stars such any Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, and a bunch of rookies from the 2013-14 season.

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The big prize from this pack is an Essence of the Game autograph. This is an awesome set with on-card autographs, serial numbered cards, and cards that you can see through. The set is made up of 50 cards and although I didn’t get the player I would choose, I was still pleased to open one of these. My only complaint is that there are 50 cards and not a single Pacer! The closest is D.J. Augustin in a Pacers uniform but a Raptors logo. No thanks.

A successful pack one that makes it tough for me to not bust all the rest at once.