Review: 2012-13 Panini Threads Basketball

2012-13 Panini Threads basketball is back after a year off and it looks like that year has paid off with a solid product all around this year. This year features the double rookie class with a ton of rookies autographs, as well a nice selection of inserts and game used cards. You should get about 3 autographs and 1 memorabilia card per box, let’s see what we pulled.

Design:

The design for threads this year is pretty solid. It actually has kind of a SP Authentic feel to them, with a Panini twist with the foil letters. Personally, the one thing I don’t like about the design is the foil lettering. I think it takes away from the rest of the card. Maybe it’s the color chosen? I don’t think it works with the rest of the card. As far as the inserts go, the Photoshop work on the photos and the design on the inserts are great. It adds a nice feel to the imagery, something you don’t see a lot of in cards. It’s not new, just under utilized. The die-cut jersey cards are cool, and I know there are autographed parallels of those, but I would just stick with the plain jersey style cards. The hit or miss addition is the wood stock autographed cards. Signed on card, they look and feel pretty cool. The only issue with some of them is the cut on the card, see what I mean below.

Checklist:

This whole season is going to be a rookie laden checklist in all the products due to the double rookie season. This is both good and bad. Kyrie Irving and some of the standouts from last season get their due, this strong new class has some great additions, but you’re probably going to find more filler this year as well. Threads does just that. But as Panini always does, there is a great group of retired and legends in the product as well with the inserts and some of the autographs. That’s something you can’t really complain about.

Value:

You’ll be able to find this product for about $100 at DA Card World. With the rookie heavy autograph checklist and not much else in terms of value, it’s still a tough sell even with three autographs. It’s not a bad correlation from hits/price, but I still think it’s a bit high. $80-$90 feels better to me if I were to buy this product. I still feel like if you want to price a box that high, more veteran autograph content should be inside. 2 rookies and 1 veteran auto? $100 sounds better. Maybe it’s just me…what do you think about guaranteeing veteran autographs?

Overall:

Overall, Threads is a solid product from Panini. The design and checklist are definitely a lot better than they have been in the past. The double rookie checklist means there are more autographs, but it could also cause an issue with the value of the cards. Should guaranteeing at least 1 veteran autograph in a product help you pay an extra $10-$20 for a box? That’s something I’d like to think about, it will probably end up in a post eventually.

Thanks to Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them online at their website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

You can see the full checklist of this product over at the Cardboard Connection.

Still having trouble uploading photos, so check out the video in the mean time…

 

Review: 2012-13 Panini Prestige Basketball

With a full season prepared to launch after last year’s strike shortened season, this year returns to the standard of basketball card collecting that collectors were hoping for last season. With Prestige basketball number 2 on the list for this season, Panini has prepared a season full of rookies from the past two years and a season to think about where they’d like to go this year for sports cards.

Prestige is here and with it comes the first real taste of what will be going on this year. With 3 autographs and one memorabilia card per box, Prestige is one of the first products to feature quite a few rookie autographs and some of the early season’s better hits. Let’s see how it stacked up.

Design:

The basics of the design are actually nice, but the execution wasn’t very enjoyable. I like the player focused photos with the team color background over the action going on behind the player. It focuses on the player, color coordination, and it fits in perfectly. First, I can’t seem to understand the giant white line that goes across the bottom of the card. If it’s part of the design, why? It serves absolutely zero purpose. The second real issue I have is the going back and forth between vertically and horizontally oriented. This makes the actual pack opening experience annoying. Trying to go back and forth reading and looking at the cards is something that’s just not enjoyable. I like everything, except inserts, generally the same. I don’t mind a couple positioned differently, but when it’s 3-4 A PACK like that…as I said, it’s an annoying opening experience.

Checklist:

Speaking of checklists, why has Panini done away with adding them to the products? Anyway, I usually harp on the number of rookies in a set but it looks like this may be a problem this year with the double rookie class of cards. There are 100 rookies in this set and all of your favorite stars of the NBA and a few legends for those old school collectors. With 75 rookie autographs, you have just about anyone you would want to find. The veteran/legend checklist for autographs is kind of small though for such a big set. I guess they had to get those rookie autographs in.

Value:

My biggest issue is there are just so many rookie autographs in this product compared to the veterans or legends. Good thing it’s a strong rookie class in general, even if combined with the rookie class from last year which was kind of weak. I’d like to see more veteran content in this product besides the relic cards. It’s tough to balance things out, I just find this product to be very unbalanced in that regard. For just about $100 a box, it’s not terrible getting four hits in a box either with 3 being autographs. You have opportunity to hit some hot autographs which of course will be valuable anyways. I’d just prefer better opportunity for some veteran autographs.

Overall:

Overall, this is a decent product from Panini. The design could use some work as it has me questioning a few things. For once, the design of the product actually had me annoyed at going through cards in the packs. It just felt unorganized. But it did have some highlights with the inserts and the basic design. The checklist was full of rookies and veterans, but rookies really stealing the show in base cards and hits. This is almost like a purely rookie product just because of the number of rookie cards you can find in this product, which hurts value a bit if you strike out with a bunch of low end rookies. But as is with rookies, you can hit it huge too. I just want to find more veteran content in the hits department. I also want to mention the damage from a few cards as well, including the Jordan Williams autograph, that bottom right corner ding is pretty bad.

As always, thanks to Panini for providing this product for review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Twitter, or Facebook pages.

For a full checklist of 2012-13 Panini Prestige basketball, check out the product information page on Cardboard Connection.

Now, for the hits:

Review: 2012-13 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball

Well yesterday we reviewed a product that was low end on the football side in 2012 Score football, and today we visit a low end product on the hardcourt with 2012-13 Panini NBA Hoops basketball. Hoops basketball has a long tradition in basketball trading cards and was recently brought back last season in the hopes to bring the name recognition back up to the forefront of basketball collectors. Well, it made it back for a second season and with a price tag of $2 per pack, it’s a low end product that everyone should be able to enjoy. Want to see what the cards look like and what we pulled? Well only after you read the review…

Design:

NBA Hoops features a classic looking design that features the classic NBA Hoops brand logo front and center. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of such product pimping, but it fits in pretty well in the design of these cards. The action photography is great in this product for the base cards, with several nice insert sets as well filling out the product. Even the Kobe Anthology packs had some sweet looking Kobe cards inside. All around, this is a well designed product and at $2 per pack, it’s a win-win situation. Often times, low end products look low end. This has a real classic look that makes putting a set together worth the time and effort.

Checklist:

First, what makes this better than last year is the fact that you WILL find 2012-13 rookies in this product. Also, the product goes back old school with the inclusion of NBA coach cards in the product. Those are two automatic wins right there. Including all the other stars, bench players, and some legends in the product and you have an all around juggernaut of a checklist. Oh, two autographs as well in a box and a mini set devoted to Kobe Bryant? This deserves more than the 5 stars it churned out. You get a set worthy of putting together, a subset of a living legend, and some hits on top of it. Duh, winning.

Value:

And the product keeps on winning when it comes to value. 2 autographs per box. $2 per pack. Some hard to find SPs. The first autographed trading cards of Kyrie Irving. Autographs from some of the top picks of this year’s DEEP NBA draft. Ladies and gentlemen, Panini showcases once again that it knows how to make a low end product and deliver it to the masses. I’d argue that the NBA Hoops line is the best low end product on the market currently, and I’m a pretty big fan of Score and it’s $1 a pack price point. If you collect for fun, collect to put sets together, find cards of your favorite team, or try and grab some autographs for your collection, how could you go wrong with this product in terms of value? Good luck finding better.

Overall:

Panini knew it would be easy to plug up the holes that this product had last year. They did it, plus a bit, and put out one of their best all around basketball releases in awhile. The design is classic, which is perfect for a classic brand like NBA Hoops. The checklist is finally filled out and features just about everyone in the league plus some legends. Plus, you can have the opportunity to put together a set of just Kobe Bryant. At $2 a pack, you’re living a dream getting 2 autographs in a box. And I would have felt the same way if I pulled two scrub autographs as well. I did in last year’s product and gave it just about the same grades.

As always, a big thank you to Panini for providing this box for review. You can find them online at their official site, blog, Twitter, or Facebook.

Oh I didn’t show you that I pulled probably one of the best boxes in the whole print run, huh? Well let’s see some cards, eh?

Review: 2011-12 Panini Gold Standard Basketball

Last year’s 2010-11 Gold Standard set a mark for future products and the success of the product brought it back for a second season. The price point stays the same at about $200 a box and there are a few tweaks to a very good product last season that collectors will notice. With more of a game used element with the autographs, less inserts, more base, and the same number of hits, the basics are generally the same with this product. Want to see what’s in your typical box break? Well here we go…

Design:

The design of this product is about as clean of a design as you can get with the foilboard. I really enjoyed the design as there wasn’t too much going on in the background. The base cards look great, and my favorite design has to be the Signs of Gold autographs. It’s almost the perfect design for the autograph placement and picture. The one thing I didn’t like which I will complain about for just about every product is the sideways autographs. This product features some of them and I just need everything to be uniform design-wise. I think if they put the Career Points over on the right instead of the autograph like the game used cut outs, it would have been much better. Otherwise, I really enjoy most every design that I pulled. Good work on changing it just enough to keep the collector interested this year.

Checklist:

I don’t think the checklist is as good as last year’s product. The one improvement I see is the cutting down of the inserts and including more base cards. That makes set collecting possible and really improves the feel of the break. But I think it has just enough of the legends and current stars to keep it interesting. With a few different retired stars and a few different current players in the product it changes things up, but there are more players out there who would make a better appearance in this product to improve the checklist which would also improve the…

Value:

Value wise, it’s a little tough this year. Last year’s checklist was a little bit better and the additions to this year’s product weren’t quite as good. For instance, we pulled Earl Monroe. Once a great player, not many autographs, sells alright. The rookie autograph redemptions, good work getting those out, but waiting until October for the draft is too long. Finally, Kevin Martin as an autograph hit in a $200 product isn’t good. Include the fact you’ll get two plain game used jersey cards in the $200 product and you’re hurting. This is a product that screams one patch per box as your game used hit. Make that Dirk a patch and have a cut out “5 piece” game used card, and it’s a bit easier. It definitely has room for improvement in this department next year, but it’s just more of the little things. I’ve been tired of plain game used jerseys in expensive products for awhile without patches, and I’m going to continue that until I see results in products.

Overall:

Overall, this is an average to below average break for the product. The design is well done this year and is very clean and really focuses on what you need to focus on located on the card. I could do without the vertical autographs though. The checklist needs a little work but I do like the cutting out of the numerous plain old inserts from last year and think that makes for a better opening experience as well as collecting the base cards. The value needs a little work and I really want to see a patch included in every box instead of two game used pieces. 1 game used jersey, 1 game used patch. That’s all I ask for in a $200 product when it comes to memorabilia. That’s not a stretch offer.

As always, a big thank you goes out to the folks at Panini America for providing this box for review. You can find them online at their official site, blog, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with them.

Review: 2011-12 Panini Past & Present Basketball

If this product doesn’t bring back some nostalgia, I don’t know what will. 2011-12 Panini Past & Present basketball is one of the limited basketball releases by Panini this year because of the lockout, but it’s definitely one of the most fun and exciting products of the season. In our preview, you were about to see a ton of the great offerings from this product and the product delivered all of that which looks fantastic.

This is also the first product of the year to contain autographed redemptions for 2011-12 rookies which because of the lockout, had a hard time being produced in such a short time frame. So if you’re looking for your first rookies of the season, this product will have them for you. (With the players for the redemptions being announced in October 2012.) Full of the NBA past and present, this product looked the part to be a real winner this season. So let’s find out how it stands up. Let’s get to the review…

Design:

The design in Past & Present brings you the best of both times. The base designs are very old-school looking showing homage to the past. With a retro kind of look, these cards look great. I also enjoy the several different variations of the retro cards, which changes things up a little bit and brings a lot of variety to the base product. Then we have some of the inserts which are definitely present. The inserts are 90s like with a brand new twist. The Raining 3s and fiery insert cards are absolutely gorgeous both on camera and even better in person. The finish on the fiery cards is amazing with the reflecting surface and the Raining 3s embossed areas are very cool to the eye. Even the basketballs in Changing Times have a great feel to them. Really well done all together.

Checklist:

While the lack of rookies isn’t entirely Panini’s fault in their base form, having autographed redemptions is a nice addition to the product to get some rookies in. Also, some may argue that the autograph checklist isn’t that great with a bunch of names you may not have heard of if you are a recent fan to the game. The Elusive Ink series is a set with a checklist of names you may have a hard time finding autographs for that were popular in their time. Personally, I would prefer the bigger names to the harder to find names, but that’s probably just me. These players will have their collectors and should have some decent secondary value. But other than that, the mix of current NBA stars and past legends is fantastic with names you’ll find enshrined in the Hall of Fame and fan favorites.

Value:

$100 for 3 autographs and 1 game used card isn’t bad at all. You also get a ton of base cards and some really cool inserts which you know people are going to try and collect. It may be a tad bit pricey because of some of the hit content, however the large number of cards you get along with the inserts kinda makes up for a bit. Also, the game used swatches were pretty large as well. While I’m happy that they put in less swatches in this product, I’m also happy that the large swatches were included. The autographs I pulled would look much better on card as well, but you do what you can with autographs nowadays. The redemptions for autographed rookies are great too.

Overall:

Overall, this is a great addition to the Panini basketball family. I really think there is a lot they can do with this product in the future and should remain around for a bit. The design is a beautiful representation of the past and present of basketball cards, as well as sports cards in general. It’s a great mix that brings back nostalgia and makes you think of some of the future technology that can be used. The checklist is solid, but nothing real noteworthy. The Elusive Ink set is interesting as it has names that may not have many autographs, but it appears as though collectors aren’t buying into it too well. Which leads to the value being pretty good, but not as good as it could be. I really think a slightly upgraded autograph checklist would boost this product up to be close to perfect. But the addition (finally) of rookie autograph should make most collectors happy.

A big thanks goes out to Panini America for providing this box to review. You can find them online on their official site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and all around.

Not shown: Redemption for 2011-12 autographed rookie #12