Monday, October 24, 2016

Box Break Review: 2016-17 Hoops

The NBA season is here! So let's take a look at the box of Hoops I received as a birthday present on the 18th.

Every year the Hoops set is my favorite of the year, and this year is going to be hard to top. The folks at Panini have stepped up the photography chosen for cards in the past several years and the trend continues.

Shots like this are common:
 I really like the behind the glass shots, but they have other great action shots, too.
Some of the players who changed teams- and there were a LOT of them- got studio photos in their new uniforms, while some did not, and have a photo from last season with "traded to/Signed by" the new team and the date on the card front. That is much better then a photoshopped uniform in my opinion.
 The majority of the rookies- there are 40 included in the set- have photos from the Rookie Photo Shoot in their new uniforms.
If Kris Dunn wins rookie of the year- a definite possibility- he would be the third consecutive Timberwolves player to win the award, which would be the first time in NBA history.

I really love the design of the set this year...I usually do but this one is better than the last two...and really loved last year's set- it was the first Panini era Hoops set I actually completed.

The one problem- and I know, this is a broken record by now- but the set is too small. As the flagship set of the NBA, 300 cards is simply not enough to cover a 450 man league. Because the set was issued so early, there are some players included with teams they no longer play for- in fact, there has already been a trade made this season after the set came out, but half of it won't matter, because Panini did not bother to give one of the two players a card. (Tony Snell) Jarrett Jack, former Net, signed with the Hawks during the off-season but was cut two days ago- he now has a card with a team he will probably never play with. It happens sometimes.

There are players now in their 5th season in the League who still do not have a SINGLE CARD. That is inexcusable and my only real problem with Panini's issues.

There were 6 veteran players who did not yet appear in my collection, and I got 5 of them.
Mejri, Huertas, Marjanovic and Felicio were all rookies in 2015-16 and all got cards, but I was not lucky enough to get any of them. The Mejri allows me to finally launch a series I have had in my plans for a while. Seth Curry is entering his 4th year in the NBA, and he did get some cards in 2015-16, I just was unable to get any of them. The missing 6th player is Cole Aldrich, who got his first cards in 2010-11, but despite being in the NBA the entire time since then, had not gotten cards since 2011-12, he did have one card- with two parallels- in Complete last year but I didn't get any of them yet.

One thing that should really be visible now is that each team has a color-coded scheme to each team.  I really like it- it's not overbearing, it's very well done, and the colors pop. Last year's set was also color coded but I think I like this year's better- the wood paneling just looks so good it's hard to vote against it.

Card backs, to be honest, are kind of a waste.
No color, minimal stats and no player gets more than 5 years. At least they finally switched out which round a player was drafted in to what year. With only two rounds, listing them on the backs of NBA cards was pretty pointless. It's not like baseball or football with multiple days of rounds of drafts...or even the NBA, which had 6 rounds back in the day.

Now, let's move on to the parallels. I really, really love the parallels in this set. I'm one of those rare collectors who actually truly loves parallels, and as I mentioned in the post I put up on the day Mom gave me the box, my favorite card in the box was the green parallel of Kristaps Porzingis I posted there.  Now I will post the other Green I pulled.
The Greens this year are SN149, and I love them. Green has been my favorite color my whole life, the walls in my room are painted bright green, I'm wearing a green shirt as I type this. The cards are really spectacular in person- it's not really captured how great they are in this scan. Although they went from being a non-serially numbered set to being SN this year, they actually got slightly more common- last year they were one per box, this year I got two. The Gold design returned but this year is SN10, much, much rarer. I did not get any.

The Red Backs return...unfortunately. There is really no point to these. I said the same thing last year. When I was opening my box, I thought at first I got a duplicate- until I turned it over. They could have at least used red foil for the Hoops logo (the only foil on veterans, the Rookies have the Rookie logo in foil as well).
At least I pulled one of my 5 favorite players in the League.

Silvers continue to be SN to 99, and I actually pulled three of them this year- the most I've ever pulled in a single year.
Not only that, you can actually tell that the borders are not white in scans this year! I'm not sure if that's because the cards have changed, or if it's because I used a different scanner than I did last year.

There are a lot more parallels that are retail only- each retail packaging version (blaster, hanger pack, gravity feed) has two exclusive colors. Teal and Orange join the Hoops family this year...I have not seen even a scan of either of them yet, although I have not really looked, either. (My local Target has not put them out yet)

Now, the inserts. I'm not really an insert guy. I prefer base cards, then parallels of base cards, then inserts. But they are nice this year, thanks to being largely holofoil. I got several different inserts and I will show each below.
Most insert sets are 20 cards, some are more and some are less. Many of them are 'heritage" sets, in that they are inserts that continue from year to year, instead of a brand new concept every year. I prefer this kind of insert.
 Action Shots has a lot of foil. Rare to see a shot of the back of a jersey on cards. Note the new Kings logo.
 Bird's Eye View is a fun set, which is mostly if not all shots from behind the glass. It's also all holofoil except for the player name and team. This is Rudy Gay.
 High Flyers has a great 1950s diner theme. The white spots are part of the card.
 High Flyers Artist Proof features gold foil as compared to the base silver, and is SN25. I got the penultimate number.
 Highlights is a favorite insert of mine- each is game-dated to show something important that happened during the season. They aren't chronological, as this is card #3 of a 20 card set and highlights the last game of the season. (which I watched live on ESPN!)
 Hot Signatures returns and they are pretty cool looking this year. The sticker does not allow guys with longer names like Motiejunas to sign their whole name...although I'm sure they sign so much they wouldn't anyway!
 Kobe NBA2K17 is cards #11-20, while #1-10 are inserted into the video game of the same name. You get three of these per box and in theory it wouldn't be hard to complete the Hoops portion of the set. Some of the cards show actual photos.
 One on One returns and highlights some popular matchups. This was, unfortunately, the only Karl-Anthony Towns card in the box. Towns has supplanted Anthony Davis here as "The Next Big Thing" and watching T-Wolves games, it's easy to understand why. The term "gifted" does not adequately describe how good he already is- and he's only going to get better. Davis has battled injury and has very little in the way of supporting cast so his skills are kind of being overlooked, but his potential is also very great.
 Picture Perfect...meh. We live in the 21st century, black and white photography should be a thing of the past.
 This year, the Rookies are not included in the main Hot Signatures set, but are instead in their own Rookie Hot Signatures set. I happened to pull a Red Hot version, quite obviously numbered to 25. This is the second time in three years that I have pulled a Red Hot signature of a rookie, having pulled Joel Embiid in 2014-15, and may very well be Rookie of the Year this year, after missing two full years with foot injuries. The bars across the bottom, the team name and Ellenson's name are all in red foil. Ellenson now takes an early (tied) lead for most cards of a player who joined the NBA in 2016-17, with 2. (Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Kay Felder also had two cards in the box)
 Road to the Finals, while serially numbered, is actually the most common insert. It is the third year this insert has been in Hoops, and I absolutely love the concept. Every single game of the Playoffs gets a card, with each round decreasing in number of copies produced. Round one had 2016 cards, round 2 had 999, the next round had 499, the conference finals 199 and the NBA Finals had 99. At 86 cards completing the set would be tough, but I love it all the same.  I got 5 in my box. If I were running Panini, there would be a set where EVERY single game of the season got at least one card.
 Spark Plugs returns for the first time since 2013-14 now adding holofoil. It returns to the horizontal format last used in 2012-13. All years of the set have had an orange theme.
Team Leaders is in it's second season, and is all holofoil. I got two in my box. Unfortunately each team only gets one card, instead of cards for each category's leader per team.

Like the parallels, there are plenty of retail-exclusive inserts, none of which appear in my collection yet.

In total, I got 288 new cards, 259 of them being base cards, with 8 parallels and 21 inserts, which include the two autographs. The base set is 300 cards, and I will be attempting to complete it via retail purchases (also hoping to get some retail parallels in the process). For the third year in a row I did not get a single duplicate.

Here is my Box Break Review of 2015-16 Hoops, the first set to have me post a Box Break Review in multiple years since I started Cardboard History.


  1. Wow...not a single duplicate! That is incredible.

  2. The backs of those cards are a real disappointment. It's like Panini spent all of it's time on the front and then one week before print realized it forgot to design the back. Otherwise it's a nice looking set

    1. Yeah .. luckily the fronts are so good that it evens out...and it makes the backs super easy to scan, too!

  3. Panini always goes all boring on the backs but that aside I think this set is underwhelming. I opened a hobby box myself and just nothing made me go wow. Great post.