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.


Top 5 favorite George Hill cards in my collection

I started going out of my way to add George Hill cards to my collection during his last season in San Antonio. I just liked his game. He fit right in with the crisp, fast ball movement that the Spurs still deploy on opponents. He’s got a great 3-point shot and driving floater and plays good perimeter defense.

Like a lot of NBA fans, I play (or used to play) a lot of NBA 2K games on the playstation. One of my challenges was to turn around the struggling Bobcats. In the game I was able to trade for George Hill. It’s funny how things like video games can turn you into a fan of certain players. One game I made it my mission to score 50 points with Hill, and I succeeded.

Anyway, that summer George Hill was traded on draft night to the Pacers for Kawhi Leonard. I don’t think the Pacers had any intention of drafting and holding onto Leonard, so I don’t feel too bad as a Pacers fan about the outcome of the trade. And George Hill became a key piece of several Pacers deep playoff runs. This past summer the Pacers traded Hill to the Jazz in a 3-team deal, getting back Jeff Teague. I understand the Pacers got younger with the trade and are making an effort to play more up-tempo, which Teague fits into. But by gosh I miss George Hill’s game! And Hill is having a career best season with the Jazz. I couldn’t be happier for him and the Jazz got a great piece which will help them make yet another deep playoff run for George Hill.

Onto the cards!

2008-09 Bowman Chrome #171

My George Hill collection is not anywhere close to my group of Duncan cards, but I do have a few autos which I am lacking with Duncan. Hill has a nice, readable signature. Out of IUPUI in Indianapolis, Hill was the hometown hero for the Pacers. This card points out him being the only Jaguar to be selected in the NBA draft.

2008-09 Topps Chrome #204

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Another rookie card of Hill, it’s hard to leave a Topps Chrome rookie off the list. The quote from IUPUI’s coach says it all about George Hill. Just a class act and the perfect 6th man and sub for Tony Parker.

2010-11 Panini Season Update Signatures #123

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This one makes the list because I pulled it out of a box of Season Update myself! Can’t go wrong with pulling an autograph of one of your favorite players! This card was from his last year in San Antonio.

2010-11 Panini Timeless Treasures Silver #25

Timeless Treasures for 2010-11 was a single pack containing 5 cards, with an SRP of $100/pack. A card this rare from a high-end product like that is good enough to make my list.

2012-13 Panini Past & Present #54

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Believe it or not, this is the only card I have of George Hill in a Pacers uniform. Remember I pretty much stopped collecting in 2012, picking up baseball cards in 2014, and I am just now getting back into the basketball card scene this year. I certainly have many holes to fill in my George Hill collection, but this group of cards is a good start.

Watching the Jazz destroy the Pacers the other night fairly easily, I couldn’t help but feel great for Hill, who scored 30 points against his old team. I’ll be pulling for the Jazz to come out of the Western Conference this year. Way to go GHill3.

 


Top 10 favorite Tim Duncan cards in my collection

Tim Duncan is my favorite non-Pacer of all time, and probably my second favorite player behind Reggie Miller. It’s weird not being able to watch Duncan play this season. In my book he goes down as the greatest power forward in the history of the game. So much has already been said about Duncan, so I will get down to the cards. These aren’t necessarily the most valuable cards in my collection, although some of them may fall into that space. They are just my favorites. They break down into four categories.

Category 1: The Rookies

1997-98 Metal Universe #66 and 1997-98 Metal Universe Championship #72

I’m starting the list by breaking the rules with counting two cards as one, but I just couldn’t choose one over the other and I wanted nine other spots. Try to find cooler base sets than these two.

1997-98 E-X 2001 #75

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This certainly was a great year for basketball cards, wasn’t it? I remember opening a few packs of these and pulling a Patrick Ewing. Even though he was on the hated Knicks I was still in love with the card and design. I probably don’t have that card anymore but it sure was a thrill for an 11 year old to open packs of this stuff.

1997-98 Topps Chrome #115

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The most recognizable of Duncan’s rookie cards, along with probably his SP Authentic rookie. While I never added a refractor version to my collection, his Chrome rookie has to fit somewhere in my top 10. The back of this one asks what makes a star. Is it scoring? Rebounding? Defense? Consistency? Heart? Duncan has all of these. A good quote too from Dave Odom, Duncan’s coach at Wake Forest on the back.

1997-98 SP Authentic #165

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Duncan throwing down a jam with future teammate and current Warriors coach Steve Kerr watching. Part of what makes this a cool card is it was the first year with the full SP Authentic named set. The previous year obviously had a great rookie class and some key rookie cards in the SP set with Kobe being the top card, but 1997-98 was the first SP Authentic set. This set the stage for 1998-99 which I remember as being a hot set with Vince Carter’s rookie being the most sought after at the time.

Category 2: The Rookie Year Inserts

1997-98 Skybox Premium Next Game #7

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Looks like the modern Court Kings sets. Just always liked the look of this set and Duncan going for the lay-in makes for a great card. Always blows my mind that the Spurs landed Duncan in the first place because of Robinson’s injury.

1997-98 Ultra Heir To The Throne #7

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Don’t have a great reason for picking this except he is sitting on a throne of basketballs! What a design for an insert set.

1997-98 Z-Force Big Men On Court #4

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This one has to rate up there in terms of value. I’m fairly sure one of my friends traded it to me in the early 2000s and I’m sure I got the best of whatever trade we made. I’m trying to reacquaint myself with the basketball card hobby, and what I’m noticing is if the insert set was redone in the Upper Deck Retro set, then the original set is probably pretty highly sought after these days.

Category 3: Other Inserts

1998-99 Skybox Premium Jam Pack #15

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This is the first insert I pulled of Duncan from a pack, and I’ve held onto it for a long time. For this reason alone it makes the list. It’s also an interesting design that hasn’t been close to replicated, with a shiny pick background of water, rocky shorelines, and sky.

Category 4: Relics

2003-04 Fleer Genuine Insider Team USA #TU-TD

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I can’t put enough Team USA cards into my collection. In fact there are some insert sets I’d like to put together from some other sets around this time focused on Team USA. One is an insert set from Fleer Avant, if I remember right. I picked this up right before I closed up shop on the blog in 2012, but it still cracks my top 10.

2007-08 Stadium Club Beam Team Relic #BTR-TD

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Hard to go wrong putting a Beam Team insert into a top 10 list. Add a relic to the mix and it was hard to omit this one from this post. It’s a plain black swatch but it doesn’t bother me.

So there you have it. Notice no autographs in this list. Haven’t added one of those to my collection yet, but would like to if the price is right. I plan to share more of my Duncan collection in future posts, and I need to get a wantlist up. Don’t have most of his newer cards and want to see which inserts from the 1990s and early 2000s I am missing.