I received a package in the mail today from Cards on Cards. It was a prize for winning the fantasy basketball league he ran this year, as an incentive for people to keep playing next year. There were 10 teams this season, with the top six advancing to the playoffs. I spent much of the early part of the season at the bottom of the standings, but worked my way up to a #4 seed in time for the playoffs to start. Then I was able to defeat the #5, the #1, and the #2 seeds in order to win the inaugural Championship. The last matchup against Bob Walk the Plank came down to the last games on the last day of the season, and I barely got away with a 5-4 victory.
The prize had a note on it, and you can see that some of the ink on the prize transferred over onto the tape. It looks like it's something from Panini!
It's a blaster of 2016-17 Panini Donruss Basketball, with Anthony Davis pictured all over, 110 cards inside, and probably an autograph or relic card inside. I didn't post the side of the box with pack odds, because Panini doesn't do pack odds. I thought I'd look through the cards and scan players who appeared on my fantasy basketball team's roster during the year. Of the 39 different players who spent at least one game on my starting roster, I pulled 12 players from this blaster. How did they do for Manute's Glutes, my fictional basketball team?
Andre Drummond was my team leader in games played, with 76 appearances. For me he averaged 13.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game. Here he appears on a Crashers insert, which appropriately highlights his impact in the rebounding column.
LeBron James was my 2nd-best player (behind Damian Lillard, who didn't appear in this blaster) for the season, playing in 74 games and averaging 1.7 threes, 26.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks for me.
Brook Lopez also played in 74 games for me, with an average of 1.8 three-pointers, 20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.5 steals, and 1.7 blocks for the Glutes.
I had Aaron Gordon on my team for 71 games, and he contributed 1.0 threes, 13.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks to my team. That rounds out the players from this blaster who played more than half a season for me.
Monta Ellis and Rajon Rondo both played 29 games for Manute's Glutes. Ellis gave me 0.6 threes, 9.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.0 steal, and 0.4 blocks, while Rondo chipped in 0.6 three-pointers, 7.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 0.21 blocks.
Jahlil Okafor is the last 20+ game contributor from this box. He gave me 24 games, with averages of 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds (fewer than Rajon Rondo!), 0.3 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game.
Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Tony Parker, Kyle Korver, and Bismack Biyombo all made just a handful of starts for the Glutes, either because they weren't working out for me, or because I just picked them up to get a few stats in a particular week.
The league was a 9-category league, including Field Goal Percentage, Free Throw Percentage, Three Pointers, Points, Rebounds, Steals, Blocks, Turnovers, and Assist/Turnover Ratio. When he set up the league, madding asked if there were any requests for categories. I proposed replacing Turnovers with Assist/Turnover Ratio, but we wound up replacing Assists instead. I think my request could have been worded better. I might suggest that change for next season, if the league plays again.
The blaster had three parallels in it, with one of them probably being the pull of the box. D'Angelo Russell and Jake Layman are Holo Orange Laser parallels. They look pretty cool in-hand. Serge Ibaka is a Holo Purple Laser parallel, numbered # 08 / 15. I tried to target Ibaka in our draft, but didn't get him. His shot-blocking ability used to be amazing, but now he just cracks the top-10 in blocks.
The box offered a quartet of various 'Kings' inserts. Court Kings feature players who are currently playing, with cover boy Anthony Davis and Paul George as my pulls. I like Anthony Davis, and I would probably start a player collection for him if I weren't already stretched way too thin. Hall Kings features Hall of Famers, and my pull from that set was 'Zo, who was a pretty big deal back when basketball was my main collecting focus. I also got a Rookie Kings card of Jakob Poeltl, who is a guy I've never heard of, probably because no one can pronounce his last name.
I got an All-Stars insert of Scottie Pippen, who is a guy I never really liked, even though he played for the Houston Rockets at one point. Sometimes it seems like I'm the only person who didn't like the Jordan-era Bulls (outside of Horace Grant). Probably I'm just jealous. At least my team won a couple of titles while Jordan was off playing baseball. I also got a Mike Conley card from The Elite Series. Fancy! One thing I like about Donruss is the photography. Too many basketball sets cut the player out and put them against a plain background. I like to see some game action on my cards, especially in basketball, where you can often see the crowd or the other players in action.
I pulled a couple of Rockets from the box. No James Harden, but I got Sam Dekker and Clint Capela, as well as a Rookie card of Gary Payton II, who never actually made the team before he was released.
My promised hit was a Rockets card, at least in name, as Gary Payton II makes another appearance. He played for the Rockets' D-League team for a while, but got released and signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. He appeared in 6 games for them this year, and may get more playing time next year as a back-of-the-bench player. It's still pretty cool to get a Rockets hit in a blaster, as the odds of pulling a hit with your favorite team's logo on it are pretty slim.
Thanks for running this league, madding, and thank you for this awesome prize! I had a lot of fun playing throughout the year, and I got pretty lucky just to make the playoffs, let alone win the whole thing.