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.

 


Insert Set Flashback: 1996-97 E-X2000 Star Date 2000

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The Set:
1996-97 E-X2000 Star Date 2000

Set Odds:
1 in 9 packs

Key Cards:
Kobe Bryant #3
Allen Iverson #7

Why I Like It:
Aren’t the jerseys on these three enough to like the set as a whole? The original Raptors jerseys are great, and seeing ‘Bullets’ on a jersey makes me miss watching Webber and Howard try to make Washington a winner.

Design-wise, what’s not to love? The scans look just as great as the cards do in person. Looking at the scan, it kind of reminds me of the new Panini Revolution product that was just released, minus the stars.

This set has a great checklist, with all the major rookies from the class of 1996-97. Kobe, Iverson, Marbury, Ray Allen, they all make an appearance in this set. The only rookie shown here is Camby. I like that this set is affordable based on being inserted at a reasonable 1:9 packs. Of if only I could bust packs from E-X2000 today. What a blast that would be.


Retired Pacers and a Contest

Baseball card land is going crazy over 2017 Topps Series 1 release. And while I’ll probably pick up a blaster or loose packs myself, I am just as excited over a lot of former Pacers I picked up in the last week.

I recently came across my favorite type of ebay seller: One that offers free shipping and discounts with a certain number of auctions won, and one that has thousands and thousands of listings. I could browse those listings all day. I settled on an initial batch and in a few days they arrived! And here you have it, my first lot of basketball cards purchased in five years. I’m so excited about this lot of cards that I’m going to give some cards away. See the contest at the bottom of the post.

2015-16 Absolute Memorabilia #112 Rik Smits 
2007-08 Hoops Top of the World #TW10 Austin Croshere

I’m pleased that Panini is releasing new cards of the Dunking Dutchman, Rik Smits. Anytime I see new Pacer cards of players from the 90s teams that had so many deep playoff runs, I get excited. While I still find new 90s cards of these guys, I’ve seen most of them, so it’s great to see new-to-me cards. This Smits fits the bill, and it’s #’d out of 199.

The Croshere is one of those new-to-me 90s cards. Is there an insert set that screams 90s more than this one? Some awesome insert sets were in NBA Hoops packs at the time at an affordable price point. I’m going to look to pick up the Duncan from this set for sure.

Croshere landed a nice contract after his great playoff performances in Indiana’s run to the NBA finals in 2000. That season and the following one were his best statistically for his career. He spent most of his career with the Pacers, finishing his career after 12 seasons. He now does radio for the Pacers, mainly road games when the legendary Slick Leonard is not available.

1999-00 Bowman’s Best Refractor #121 Jeff Foster /400
2009-10 Topps Gold #112 Jeff Foster

Foster is one of my top 5 favorite Pacers ever (Reggie Miller, Danny Granger, Rik Smits and Jermaine O’Neal are the others). He was the ultimate professional, doing whatever he was asked, even though he never had any plays run for him. That wasn’t his game. He was relentless in pursuing rebounds. Whether he started (which he did quite a bit) or came off the bench, you always knew what you were getting when Jeff came in the game. I also appreciate that he spent his entire career with the Pacers. One fun fact about Foster’s career: He is 4th all-time in career offensive rebounding percentage. He led the lead in this stat category twice during his career.

On the cards…can’t beat a cheap rookie refractor. These are the only cards that I may already have in my collection. Unfortunately I don’t have my inventory documented like I should, especially after a 4+ year break.

2015-16 Panini Prizm Prizms Silver #294 Mark Jackson
2014-15 Panini Prizm Prizms #204 Mark Jackson

Two Prizm Prizms, whatever that means. I guess it means shiny. Jackson’s signature floater in the card on the left, and against the Knicks makes this card even better. Love the flo-jo jersey in the 2014-15 card. Can’t beat these two. I do like how the 2014-15 cards have game photos. That seems to have been taken away in more recent Prizm releases.

At one point Mark Jackson was 2nd all-time in NBA history in assists. He’s dropped to 4th, passed by Steve Nash and Jason Kidd. Still impressive and somebody you might not think of when you think of all-time NBA assist leaders.

1995-96 Topps World Class #WC4 Reggie Miller

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Again, a new card for my collection, hopefully. The insert set looks familiar so I am not liking my odds, but I couldn’t pass up the potential for a new Miller insert on the cheap. Reggie was a world class shooter, that’s for sure.

1995-96 Topps Power Boosters #281 Mark Jackson

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To me this is the gem of this group, which is why I have it last. Power Boosters were inserted 1 in 36 packs, which makes this a semi-rare pick up. This one is from series 2. Sadly this is the only Pacer player with a Power Booster parallel. Maybe I’m easy to please but for a dollar I was thrilled to get this one. It scanned great too which I was worried about.

Contest

So the contest! There are 8 players in the background of cards in this blog post. Name one in the comments to be entered for a chance to win. Must name a player not already named in a previous comment. Correct entries will be randomized and a winner chosen. The winner gets…

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This Richaun Holmes autograph from 2015-16 NBA Hoops.  I will also try to send a handful of cards of your favorite team. Enter by end of the day, Saturday February 11th, 11:59 pm eastern. So there it is, the first contest since Hoops Hobby’s return to the blogosphere.