Review: 2011-12 Panini Preferred Basketball

2011-12 Panini Preferred basketball is the first high end offering from Panini during this shortened NBA season. It features four cards per pack/box with 3 autographs and one booklet card. At $200 it’s quite a gamble, but the product is a nice mix of a bunch of products that Panini would have put out this season if it wasn’t for the NBA lockout.

It features some of it’s higher end cards from a couple products, including the collector favorite Silhouettes from Crown Royale. We got our box in for review and can show you what kind of amazing cards you can pull from this product, as we pulled a sweet patch autograph in which you will see below the review.

If you want to see some other possibilities in this product, check out our official preview of 2011-12 Panini Preferred basketball after checking out this product review. Until then, check out what we pulled and you can possibly win in future contests here!

Design:

Trying to rate the design on this product is interesting. You have a bunch of different designs that would of all been in separate products had Panini had a full season of products. So while there is no real underlying theme to this set, the cards they chose to pack out in this product are some of their best designs in the respective products they used. For instance, the Silhouettes patch autograph we pulled is absolutely beautiful and a beautiful patch with an on-card autograph. The booklet card looks great, but wish they included autographs in booklets in the product. Otherwise, I’d be impressed whether these were in separate products but it’s cool they are combined into one.

Checklist:

The one thing I always enjoy about Panini products is the mix of current players and NBA legends. The one thing I don’t like about this product is the lack of rookies. I buy the excuse of the lockout a little bit, but I’ve seen some cards produced of players in their new uniforms without an issue so the rookies could of been made. Other than that, I received a nice second year player autograph, a current budding star, and a Hall of Famer for my autographs as well as a great mix of retired players in my booklet.

Value:

I actually got great value out of my box and I really think a lot of boxes will provide some pretty decent value. The three autographs is great with the chance for low paralleled autographs and solid booklet combinations, despite there not being autographed booklets. The checklist helps too with the great number of veteran players and retired players whom collectors do like to search for. At $200 a box, it may be well worth the gamble considering what Panini is trying to do this season with their products. It’s definitely fun to open as well.

Overall:

I shouldn’t be surprised on how good this product can be considering the types of cards they are putting into it, but it’s a nice pleasant surprise to get a $200 product and get some pretty good value in it despite getting only 4 cards in the box. The design is solid and uses some of the best designs over a number of Panini products. The checklist is very good despite the lack of rookies, and the value looks like it could actually have some good value across the entire run at average. I’d have to see more of what others pulled, to see if this box was better than average, but while I didn’t get big names except for the redemption, I think I still just about came out even.

As always, I appreciate Panini sending out this product for review. You can find them on their official blog, Twitter, or website.

Now, for the haul. Not shown: Hakeem Olajuwon Autograph Redemption #/10

Preview: 2011-12 Panini Past and Present Basketball

As I stated lats night, today we would feature the next Panini basketball product after Preferred…and that is Past and Present basketball.

If you’ve been waiting for a product that finally has some rookies in it, this one is it. Although they come in redemption form, you will get your fix of rookies in this product. Not only will they feature rookies from 2011-12, 2012-13 will be included as well. While I don’t have complete details on it yet, rest assured I will keep you rookie collectors updated.

But besides the rookie redemptions, this product will be an interesting mix of both vintage and modern day card designs. With new card designs and technology being used in insert sets like Breakout, Changing Times, Fireworks, Raining 3s, you will see some of the new technology at work.

There will also be 2 different vintage style designs as well in this product, which makes me believe that Panini’s original plans for this season included a vintage designed product as well as this new technology. However, the lockout played a role in mashing them together, kind of like Preferred.

On May 9th, 2012, you will find this product in stores. At 20 packs per box and 3 autographs with 1 memorabilia card, the hit collectors will be excited with the 3 autographs. (Myself included) You will also find a large number of inserts as well as you do with most sports card products nowadays, as well as some short prints.

For now, you can check out the official Panini Peek here.

Preview: 2011-12 Panini NBA Hoops Basketball

While it’s the second product to come out for the NBA season from the folks at Panini, it is surely going to be the most widely opened product of the short season. 2011-12 Panini NBA Hoops basketball is being brought back from the dead and will feature everything you loved about the set in the past, mixed with everything you love about cards today, and a few surprises.

The set is there. 279 cards to fill out the base set that features a ton of players on each roster. Have a hard time finding cards of your player in most sets? Hoops will probably have it. For instance, I’ll be looking for some Nicolas Batum. There will also be a special “Champions” base card to round out the set that is kind of a chase card, making the full set a fun challenge to complete.

Something you love about today? There is a 179 card autograph subset also in this set surely to make you go crazy looking for autographs. While each hobby box will feature two autographs, you may get lucky and pull one from some of the top players in the game. You may find a Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, or Dirk Nowitski autograph lurking in your box. You may also find some original buyback autographs of autographs on card from the 1989-90 NBA Hoops original set.

Did I mention yet that the price for this product is about $2 per pack in hobby form? Yeah, we’re liking that here. Get ready on March 3rd, 2012, for your NBA Hoops revival.

Make sure you visit Panini’s blog for the official preview and stay tuned for more information about this product there.

Review: 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic Basketball

We are still looking at the college stuff here, but this time in a different light under a brand that just about everybody recognizes, 2011-12 Upper Deck SP Authentic basketball. What I have always loved about the SP Authentic brand in all sports is the quality of the base and hits that goes into each box. This year is no different.

You will get about 3 hits per box this year in SP Authentic, but the interesting thing is that you can find a Jordan or Lebron auto in one half case, or a Jordan/Lebron/Bird/other legendary high value autograph in the other half case. Some may say it dilutes the autograph market a bit, which it does, but it makes opening a box a little more exciting. Let’s see what we pulled:

Design:

It seems like every year SP Authentic has some great designs. This year again is no different. There are some very clean looking cards with a white background, as usual. The photos they use are great action shots in the player’s college uniform and I like the light background design that really makes the bold colors in the player photos stand out. The lettering is easier to read, unlike last year. If I had any complaint what so ever, it’s gotta be that large white box below the player’s typed name. What is it and why is it there? I mean, it looks okay, but it just sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s the first thing I noticed when I opened the first pack of cards. But other than that, very good design work.

Checklist:

The checklist has it’s negatives and positives but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. First, why is the plain base set just 50 cards? I pulled two complete plain base sets (minus Rookie F/X) in one box with a few cards left over. That is asinine and strangely impressive. I also find that there just isn’t a lot of current NBA talent on the checklist. A ton of rookies, just not many current players. I’d love to see more current players in their college uniform. There are some great legends as well so can’t complain with that. Next, the hit checklist, especially for autographs, is wonderful. There are tons of awesome legendary player autographs to be had. Again, lacking in current talent as well. I feel like they should rename this product Rookies & Legends.

Value:

First, the doubles and triples hurts. I know it saves the company money, but it doesn’t help the consumer (unless it’s put toward more autos). Second, the Jordan Brand Classic jerseys are just that. Plain old jerseys. I know what they tried to do, but this is a $120 product. Plain jerseys aren’t fun. Next, Jordan floor cards are played out. Great with an autograph, played out when plain. But everything else is pretty nice. I like that I got a full regular base set and like that the Rookie F/X cards are a little hard to get. I also really like the auto checklist and the Alonzo Mourning auto I pulled makes me giddy as I’ve always been a fan of ‘Zo. The manu-patch autos I could still care less about, but some of the names are solid. Overall, not bad at all.

Overall:

Overall, UD Rookies & Legends is a solid product and is what I will now call this product this year. The design is beautifully done with another great, clean look for this brand. It always brings that sort of nice clean design so I shouldn’t be surprised. The checklist is a bit small for the base set, but the autographs checklist is pretty stacked. While the doubles and triples hurts the consumer value a little bit, as well as the plain jersey cards, the autographs can easily make up for it. I like what Upper Deck tried to do with this product and I would judge it as a moderate success. But I can’t wait to see SP Authentic football.

As always, I’d like to thank Upper Deck providing the box to review. Please visit their official website, official blog, Facebook and Twitter pages for more information about them.

And remember, after tomorrow’s last review I will be giving away a ton of Upper Deck cards to some people so stay tuned for that.

Video coming up soon.

Trailblazers Opening Night

Tonight is the opening night for the 2011-12 Portland Trailblazers.

It’s weird that I never really followed the NBA before I moved out to Portland. While living in Connecticut we had the Celtics, Knicks, and Nets close by but I never really got into the NBA. I loved college basketball and watching the Connecticut Huskies though.

But when I moved out to Portland during the 2006-07 season, watching the Trailblazers reminded me of what I loved about college basketball…the atmosphere and the playing as a team.

The Rose Garden is unlike any basketball arena I have ever been to. Loud and smart fans who really know the game. Then watching the Trailblazers, there is no one player bigger then the team. Even when Brandon Roy was taking control of the game, everyone was always involved.

So here is to a great 2011-12 NBA season for the Portland Trailblazers. Even though we have lost Brandon Roy, the team should still be exciting with the additions of Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton to the already exciting core. I know I’m excited.

Here are a couple of my favorite current Trailblazers autographs: