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).


Upcoming Box Breaks

Upcoming breaks for the next few editions of Wednesday Wax:

1998-99 Bowman’s Best
1999-00 Stadium Club Chrome

Really excited about both of these breaks!


Top Unrestricted Free Agents: Forwards

Again, not much action going on around the league with no end of the lockout in sight.  This week I’ll highlight some of the top unrestricted free agents available at the forward spots.  The forward positions are certainly better stocked with quality veterans than the guard spot.

David West, NO: The top offensive player at the power forward spot, and will probably demand the most money at the forward spot once free agency begins.  Injuries are a concern, as well as investing so much into a player who’s already 33.
Nene, DEN: He’s 5 years younger than David West, more of a physical presence, but is less polished offensively.  Would likely make the most in a new contract out of anyone on this list, but has already said money won’t determine where he lands.
Glen Davis, BOS: Valuable 6th man for a high caliber Boston squad, and only 25.  May be suited for that role more than a starting power forward spot.  I imagine he will get the chance to start at the 4 somewhere though.
Andrei Kirilenko, UTAH: Great shot blocker and defender, crafty scorer as well, particularly when attacking the rim.  Too often see him settling for long jumpers.
Kris Humphries, NJ: High energy guy who you hear more about for his life off the court than on it.  He averaged a double-double alongside Brook Lopez in the Nets frontcourt last season.
Carl Landry, NO: Another underrated young player who has a strong post game.  Only concerning issue with him is his low rebounding totals, averaging only 4.6 rpg at 6-9, 248.
Caron Butler, DAL: Will be interesting to see how he comes back from missing most of last season.  Hard to see him ending anywhere else but back in Dallas.
Tayshaun Prince, DET: Probably needs a fresh start, and the Pistons should move towards rebuilding with a young core of Monroe, Jerebko, Daye, etc…
Grant Hill, PHO: This guy averaged over 13 ppg and shot over 48% at 38!!  Would be a valuable piece on a championship contender.

Others worth mentioning: Peja Stojakovic, Al Thornton, Kenyon Martin, Shawne Williams, James Jones, Shane Battier, Josh McRoberts, Chuck Hayes, Brian Cardinal (he did get minutes in the Finals), Chris Wilcox, Troy Murphy
Hobby Impact: Nene is the player I see with the most potential for a jump in value, particularly if he lands with a contender like Miami.  His Topps Chrome rookie card has a high BV of just $5.


Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches

The Set:
2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders Patches
20 packs per box, 5 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards ‘Season Tickets’, 100 rookie autograph patches ‘Rookie Tickets’

Our Break:


83 of 100 Season Tickets, no duplicates
Die Cuts Silver /299 (2): Kevin Love, Tayshaun Prince


Rookie of the Year Contenders Die-Cuts Silver /299 (1): James Anderson
Place In History (3): Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol


Starting Blocks (6): D. DeRozan/E. Davis, D. Gallinari/T. Douglas, B. Lopez/D. James, E. Gordon/B. Griffin, T. Gibson/J. Johnson, B. Griffin/A. Aminu
Starting Blocks Die Cuts Silver /299 (1): B. Lopez/D. Favors


One-Two Punch (3): J. Flynn/M. Beasley, J. Holiday/E. Brand, S. Nash/C. Frye
One-Two Punch Die Cuts Gold /99 (1): R. Allen/P. Pierce


Rookie Tickets (4): Solomon Alabi, Omer Asik, Luke Babbitt, Hassan Whiteside (Redemption)

Impressions:

For the set collectors, the base set would be an easy one to complete, as we received over 80% of the base set in our box.  The inserts provided a nice mix of younger, up-and-coming players (the Starting Blocks) and veteran leaders and stars (One-Two Punch).  The insert card ratio was great as well, as there were 21 non-base cards in our box from 20 packs.  With 4 autographs and that many inserts per box, this product is a solid value for the price (selling for around $85/box at this posting).

One thing that stuck out on the base set design was the amount of white space, particularly at the bottom of the cards.  This is more noticable on certain cards than others, particularly on cards of the smaller guards like Jonny Flynn and Sasha Vujacic.  The stats on the ticket section of the card are well done, providing information on when the team was established, how many years the player has been in the league, etc…

The rookie patch cards are beautiful, and while the autographs aren’t on-card, the autographs are inserts which are typically favorable to the sticker autographs.  My only real complaint with the patches is how the bottom of each patch is covered up by the product name and year, and this is nitpicky as it does not bring down the attractiveness of the card too much.  The ticket theme is completely overshadowed by the huge patch though.

The theme of this set seems to branch in a bunch of different ways.  We’ve got the Contenders, Rookie Patches, and then the ticket theme.  I think the cards would fit together better if there was more of a focus on one of these themes.  It seems like too much is going on in one set.

Recap:

Base Set: 3/5 Stars
Inserts: 5/5 Stars
Memorabilia and Autographs: 4/5 Stars
Value: 5/5 Stars
Overall: 4.25/5 Stars

For the price of the box, Playoff Contenders Patches is a good value with 4 attractive autographed cards per box and a variety of insert cards.


TTM Tuesday: Favorite Returns, John Wooden


Today I will share probably my all-time favorite TTM autograph success, a return from arguably the greatest coach in basketball history, John Wooden.  Wooden coached UCLA to 10 national championships, including a string of 7 consecutive from 1967-1973 .  He also won a championship with Purdue as a player in 1932.  He was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1960 and as a coach in 1973.

Coach Wooden signed two 2001 Greats of the Game cards in under two weeks back in 2008.  He also included his own leadership card, all three cards personalized.  Thank you Coach Wooden for your contributions to the game and to life.  We miss you!


Insert Set Flashback: 2000-01 Fleer Mystique Player of the Week


The Set:
2000-01 Fleer Mystique Player of the Week

Set Odds:
1 in 5 packs

Key Cards:
Kobe Bryant $5.00
Shaquille O’Neal $2.50

Why I Like It:
There was a gap between 1997 and 2000 where I stopped collecting.  Fleer Mystique was one of the sets that brought me back.  The cards were shiny, beatifully colored, and the insert sets well-designed.  Sadly, the last Mystique set was produced for the 2003-04 season.

Player of the Week featured 15 players who won the weekly award during the 1999-00 season.  The numbers and text on the front of the card are positioned to look like a calendar.  The back of the cards highlight the games that led to the player winning the award.  Fun to look back at a snapshot of that particular season, the first championship season of a Laker 3-peat.


Friday Frivolity: Karl Malone, Truckin’

1993-94 Ultra features an insert set devoted to Karl Malone’s career highlights.  Card #10 displays Karl’s true love, being on the open road, ‘hauling a load down the endless blacktop’.  Notice the one-of-a-kind mountainous backdrop on his 18-wheeler, as well as his proper pose.  An old New York Times article recounts Karl’s offering his buddy Charles Barkley the chance to observe truck operation from the passenger side.  His response was, “I can’t fit my big butt in there.”  Trying to cram his ginormous posterior into Karl’s cab would be, as Charles would say, ‘uncivilized’.   Malone got out of the trucking business in 1994, but not before this humorous card was printed.


2011 Hall of Fame Class

Headlining those being inducted tomorrow into the Basketball Hall of Fame:

Dennis Rodman, 2-time NBA All-Star, 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, 5-time NBA Champion (2 with Pistons, 3 with Bulls), 7-time NBA Rebounding Champion, 22nd on All-Time Rebounding list, entering HOF on a Helicopter.

Chris Mullin, 5-time NBA All-Star, 4 All-NBA Teams, Member of original Dream Team

Artis Gilmore, 5-time ABA All-Star, 6-time NBA All-Star, 1971-72 ABA MVP, 1975 ABA Champion

Arvydas Sabonis, 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist, 8-time European Player of the Year.  Excellent article from SI on the mystery man.

Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders, 8-time NBA Champion, only Bill Russell and Sam Jones have more championships as a player.  Great article on Satch and his contributions beyond his playing career.


Wednesday Wax: 2010-11 Panini Classics

The Set:
2010-11 Panini Classics
18 packs per box, 8 cards per pack
Base set contains 100 base cards, 40 Legends, 40 Autographed rookies

Our Break:

Complete set of 100 base cards plus 30 duplicates
Legends /999 (2): Michael Finley, Chris Webber
Silver /250 (1): Jeff Green


Classic Moments (1): Rajon Rondo
Classic Combos (1): Karl Malone/John Stockton
Dress Code (2): David Lee, Andrea Bargnani
Dress Code Silver /250 (1): Toney Douglas



Classic Greats (1): Artis Gilmore
Blast From The Past (2): Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh


Membership Materials /499 (2): Tayshaun Prince, Pau Gasol


Autographed Rookies /699 (2): Luke Harangody, Terrico White

Impressions:

The base set design is one of my favorite designs from the past several years.  It does have a throwback feel with script text of the player, position, and Classics logo.  The primary team colors filling the majority of the background on the base cards make for a relatively bright and colorful set.  The base set had at least 3 players from each team, with a good mix of stars, established veterans, and up-and-coming players.  We also received a complete set of base cards, which is pretty rare and definitely a plus for those set collectors and the player collectors who want to be sure to pull a favorite player.

The two ‘Legend’ cards we pulled had a red and black color scheme with a black and white photo to give the card a look of nostalgia.  While the obvious legends were included like Bird, Magic, Dr. J, Moses, etc.., some of the choices confused me a bit, such as Michael Finley, Glenn Robinson, and Jamal Mashburn, among others.  Are these guys really ‘Legends’?

While I found the base set appealing, the inserts were another story.  I found most of the inserts relatively bland, lacking the vibrant coloring of the base set.  Instead most of the inserts have a similar look, feel, and color scheme.  The Blast From The Past inserts confused me as well.  Chris Bosh’s card, for instance, features him in a Raptors uniform.  Glad to see we have blasted back a whole year to revisit his exile in Toronto.  I’d imagine most folks would be more excited to pull a card featuring Bosh in his new Heat uniform.

The insert ratio is appreciated, which including memorabilia and autographs was close to one per pack (15/18).

The Membership Materials cards are made to look like membership cards, and contain a mix of retired and current players.  Seeing at least one of the memorabilia or autographed cards from the box feature a retired player would have been nice.

We pulled two rookie autographs in the box- no complaints there.  The rookie autographs in the set are just excellent as they follow the base design and are signed on-card.  Surely the top rookie autographs are popular and selling well.

Recap:

Base Set: 5/5 Stars
Inserts: 2/5 Stars
Memorabilia and Autographs: 4/5 Stars
Value: 4/5 Stars
Overall: 3.75/5 Stars

My biggest suggestion for a future Classics product would be to include more retired players per box (only 4 cards in my box), which is what most would probably expect from a product labeled ‘Classics’.  Maybe this was just an odd box.


TTM Tuesday: Favorite Returns, Derrick McKey

For this TTM Tuesday I will highlight another of my favorite returns, one that went straight to my personal collection, an autograph received from one of my favorite Indiana Pacers, Derrick McKey.  McKey was a member of the 1987-88 All-Rookie team and was named to the NBA All-Defensive 2nd team twice.  He spent the majority of his career with the Seattle Supersonics and the Indiana Pacers and played a key role in several deep playoff runs for both teams.  Received this Fleer Tradition card signed in about 2 weeks back in 2008.