Holiday Pickups, Part 2


A few more Pacer autographs came in over the past few days to add to the collection.  The O’Neal Pristine autograph is an instant favorite for me.  Always wanted to add an autograph from this set to my collection.  Absolutely beautiful set.

Cards above are as follows:

2001-02 Topps Pristine Autographs #AJO Jermaine O’Neal
2000-01 Upper Deck Encore Star Signatures #JO Jermaine O’Neal
2010-11 Limited Monikers Gold #31 Tyler Hansbrough /99


Rookie Highlight: Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio made his NBA debut earlier this week as the Minnesota Timberwolves faced the Thunder. Coming off the bench, Rubio put up 6 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals in 27 minutes of action.  He posted similar numbers in his second game against the Bucks on Wednesday.  The numbers may not jump out (yet), but if you watched either of these games, or have watched him play in international competition, it’s clear that Rubio is going to be a force in this league.  At 21, his court vision already rivals that of the league’s best.  If he can get his jump shot to fall consistently, he’ll be a star.  The Wolves look to be a great situation for Rubio and the young talent around him in Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, and even newly acquired guard J.J. Barea.  You can feel the buzz at Target Center through the television every time Rubio touches the ball, the crowd anticipating the next great dish.

I’d be shocked if Rubio’s rookie cards stay at their current level, for several reasons.  One- he’s the only rookie this year that actually has true rookie cards out!  His true rookies were produced for the 2009-10 season as he was drafted back in 2009.  The other option is the new SP Authentic product, but some of the top rookies are missing from this set (Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams).  Two- the availability is limited.  His Topps, Upper Deck, and Greats of the Game rookies can be had for cheap, generally under $5, but I would expect the price of these to rise as more folks get to see Rubio with the Wolves.  Anything outside of these and his UD Draft Edition card are selling high, as most of these others are autographed and from higher-end products.  Even his Topps Chrome rookie /999 is tough to find.

Rubio will certainly provide his share of SportsCenter highlights this year.  I for one will be watching the Wolves on the league pass as often as I can.


Nobody Can Guard LeBron James

Last night I saw LeBron James play in-person for the first time.  I was not left disappointed.

Corey Maggette tried, Derrick Brown tried.  Valiant efforts.  The Bobcats left it all on the floor last night at TWC Arena in uptown Charlotte.  But in the end, the big 3 turned it on and had just enough to keep the Heat undefeated in the early season.   No one in the league can guard LeBron James when he’s locked in.

In the first half, the Heat looked like they were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights.  They were struggling on the defensive end.  Gerald Henderson was getting open looks on the baseline whenever he wanted them.  Boris Diaw made everyone forget that he’s starting at center because the team doesn’t have a true starting center.  Augustin was hitting contested outside shots.  The Cats jumped out to an 11-0 lead before the Heat scored their first points, and they had extended the lead to 15 at the half.  A friend asked me whether or not the Cats would keep it up.  I said, ‘Why not?  The Heat look tired.’  I should have known better.

In the 2nd half, LeBron was getting to the rim at-will.  Gone were the possessions of settling for outside jumpers.  When on his game, LeBron is unguardable.  I knew this already but it was confirmed in a big way seeing him glide past defenders for spectacular lay-ins and dunks time after time.

LeBron and Chris Bosh pulled the Heat close, and Wade was once again the finisher.


Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Totally Certified

The Set:
2010-11 Totally Certified
6 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
Base set contains 150 base cards, 35 rookies autographs
Relic and Gold Autograph versions of some of base set
15 Totally Certified Potential
50 Fabric of the Game Jumbo Jersey #
50 Fabric of the Game Jumbo Team
4 HRX
Red/Blue/Gold/Green/Black parallel versions

Our Break:
Each card is serially numbered.  The base set is /1849.  Collector’s will either need to open a lot of boxes or do lots of buying/trading to complete a base set of these.  The draw with this product is the rookie autographs (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins), the chance at autographs and relics of stars such as Griffin, Kobe, Rose etc… and of course the HRX video cards.  This product also includes several retired legends such as Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton, Karl Malone, among others.  Here’s what we opened:

Base cards /1489 (16): Gerald Henderson, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce, Chris Paul, Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, Jameer Nelson, Gilbert Arenas, Danny Granger, Rodney Stuckey, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Aaron Brooks


Red /499 (5): Brandon Jennings, Zach Randolph, Matt Barnes, Hedo Turkoglu, Richard Hamilton
Blue /299 (3): Pau Gasol, Chase Buddinger, Kevin Love



Red Materials /249 (3): Andrew Bogut, Tyreke Evans, Luis Scola


Green Fabric of the Game /299 (1): Rasheed Wallace


Rookie Autographs /599 (2): Landry Fields, Ed Davis (Redemption)

Impressions:

First, want to applaud the design on the rookie autographs.  They look sharp and having on-card signatures makes them appealing.  While our box didn’t contain the most highly sought after rookies (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Evan Turner, etc..) we did pull two solid rookies, one of which starts on a playoff team that looks like it could make a deep run this year (Fields).

Pulling even a base card of a superstar such as Lebron, Kobe, Durant, etc… would have been nice, but with a base set of 150 cards and the box containing only 16, this can’t be expected out of an average box.

While the big hits in this product provide an exciting pack-busting experience, the typical box won’t deliver an adequate return.


Holiday Pickups, Part 1

Excited to get these in recently to add to my Pacers autograph collection.  The cards are:

2006-07 Topps Big Game Relics Autographs #TJF T.J. Ford /75
2007-08 Topps Co-Signers Dual Autographs #CS32 Danny Granger/Ike Diogu
2008-09 Bowman Chrome #171 George Hill AU RC
2010-11 Black Box Signatures #88 Roy Hibbert /149

More to come in the next few days!


Friday Frivolity: 1990-91 Skybox Bill Laimbeer #90

Laimbeer likes to color coordinate while fishing… he’s also much friendlier, and wears longer shorts.  Have to avoid the sunburn.


Wednesday Wax: 1999-00 Topps Series 2 Hobby

The Set:
1999-00 Topps Series 2
36 packs per box, 11 cards per pack
Series 2 base set contains 117 base cards, 10 rookies inserted 1 in 5, and 10 USA cards inserted 1 in 5
MVP Promo, 1 in 172 packs
All Matrix, 1 in 15 packs
Team Topps, 1 in 18 packs
Impact, 1 in 24 packs
Impact Refractor, 1 in 120 packs
21st Century, 1 in 27 packs
Own The Game, 1 in 44 packs
Autographs (Groups A, B), overall odds 1 in 98 packs

Our Break:
Without going in and counting, I am fairly certain we opened a complete set of base cards, while also seeing many, many duplicates.  We probably have close to 10 Danny Ferry base cards, so any Danny Ferry collectors, hit us up.  The orange bordered base set might be my least favorite Topps base set of all-time.  The action photos are nice (gotta love young Kobe hanging in the air pre-layup/dunk in the photo above), but who are we kidding, we opened this box for the inserts and a chance at a Topps Autograph (reasonably inserted at 1:98 packs, basically every third box).


’99 Draft Picks (7): Alexsandar Radojevic, William Avery, Cal Bowdler, Quincy Lewis, Dion Glover, Jeff Foster, Kenny Thomas (Most, if not all of the good rookies were in Series 1)

USA  Basketball Team Card (7): Kevin Garnett, Gary Payton, Steve Smith, Tim Hardaway, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Tom Gugliotta


All Matrix (3): Shaquille O’Neal, Antoine Walker, Keith Van Horn


Team Topps (2): Reggie Miller, Grant Hill


21st Century (1): Jonathan Bender


Own The Game (1): Jason Kidd


Impact (1): Kobe Bryant

Impressions:

Fantastic value, beautiful inserts.  Our box looks like it contained pretty standard results for this product.  It was right on the odds for the inserts, didn’t hit on any of the higher odds inserts such as the Impact Refractors or the Autographs, but did pull several nice inserts that had lower odds (Shaq, Kobe).

The USA cards were interesting.  Who knew Tom Gugliotta played for Team USA?  Fun trivia fact there.

Pick up this box if you don’t want to break the bank (you can find a box for under $30), but still have a shot at some nice autographs and inserts.  Really can’t stress enough how great these insert sets are.  These types of cards are what is missing from today’s products.  The scans in this post don’t give an accurate picture of how nice these cards look.  Give me these over a game used card of Andres Nocioni any day (nothing personal, Andres- we actually could pull one of these in our next break, 10-11 Totally Certified).


Insert Set Flashback: 1995-96 Fleer Total D



The Set:
1995-96 Fleer Total D

Set Odds:
1 in 5 Series 1 packs

Key Cards:
Michael Jordan $8.00
Shaquille O’Neal $3.00
Scottie Pippen $2.00

Why I Like It:
I opened more packs of 1995-96 Fleer than I’d care to admit in my early collecting days.  I was drawn to the set because of its variety of styles and patterns.  It’s also a large set so I didn’t find myself pulling the same players all the time.  The Total D set points out the defensive powerhouses of the mid-90s, such as ‘The Glove’ Gary Payton, shot-blockers Olajuwon and Mutumbo, and lockdown perimeter defenders in Jordan and Pippen.  The back description shares the player’s accolades on the defensive side of the floor.

While the uptempo, flashy offenses are often more fun to watch, getting crucial stops down the stretch wins games.  The Dirk-led Mavs finally broke through and won the championship last season after acquiring their defensive anchor in Tyson Chandler.  It’s hard to see them matching that success this season with Chandler now in New York.  Defense certainly matters, and these guys, showing their ‘Total D’, were the best at proving it.


Where Will Clippers Finish?

With the recent acquisition of Chris Paul, how will the Clippers mesh?  Can all the main pieces stay healthy?  Paul, Blake Griffin, Caron Butler, all have sustained major injuries during their career.  With a less than to be desired bench, it will be critical for those guys to stay healthy during the condensed season.

My prediction barring major injuries, 4-5 seed in the West.  Why so high (or so low if you’re really optimistic about the Paul/Griffin combo)?  Chris Paul was able to get the Hornets to the 7 seed last year with a lesser collection of talent around him.  He then pushed the Lakers 6 games in a difficult first round series.

I don’t see a ton of teams in the West that actually got better during this quick free agency period.  The Mavs lost their main defensive weapon in center Tyson Chandler to the Knicks.  The Lakers basically gave away Lamar Odom to the Dallas because he was unhappy because of almost being traded.  The Spurs are one year older and lost their 6th man to Indiana.

So, I think the Clippers can make a run.  It’ll be exciting to see the relevant Clippers either way.


Pickup of the Week: Chris Mullin Autograph

My first autograph of recent Hall of Fame Inductee, and one my all-time favorites, Chris Mullin!  This autograph from 2010-11 National Treasures is #’d 12/49.