08 October 2015

Pack of the Day 109: 2014-15 Panini Donruss Basketball Box Break

I've finally reached the final post about my Dave & Adam's Card World order, with a box of 2014-15 Donruss Basketball from Panini. This product has a ton of inserts and parallels, so this will be a fairly long post, one of the reasons I've held it for last.

The base cards feature a similar design to the baseball set, with the little baseballs in the colored stripe exchanged for basketballs. I'd rate the photography as pretty good especially as you can actually see some of the action surrounding the players, something you lose out on in the many sets that feature the player cut out and placed on a background. There is a Rated Rookie subset, which I believe is short-printed, although not horribly so.

These parallels are called Swirlorama, apparently. The base set and most of the inserts have Swirlorama parallels. There were a fair number of Houston Rockets in the box, so that was a bonus for me. There are a lot of players who I don't really recognize or whose names are familiar to me but I couldn't tell you much else about them. The NBA is mostly relegated to various cable / satellite channels, so I don't ever watch games. I have to watch the box scores and the occasional highlight video to get my fix.

Most (all?) of the parallels outside of the Swirlorama cards are serially-numbered. With the amount of stuff in this set, the print run on Donruss must have been about 65 million cases. Up top are a couple of Stat Line parallels, which are numbered based on some statistic the player has put up in their career. The Purple Press Proofs down on the bottom are all numbered out of # / 199, and there are a few other tiers of Press Proof available. Many of the insert sets also have Press Proof parallels.

The Rookies is an insert focused (duh!) on first-year players. I don't think any of these guys are big names. In my limited exposure to basketball I usually pick up on the bigger names, and these guys aren't them.

The Production Line insert set features players who excel at Scoring, Rebounds, and Assists. All of my cards in this box came from the Scoring subset. Up top are the regular inserts and along the bottom are a Swirlorama of Kevin Durant and a Press Proof of DeMarcus Cousins. The Cousins Press Proof is a Blue Press Proof, which is limited to 99 copies.

Court Kings is an insert featuring various star players. It's got a textured face and filters applied to the photos. It seems like James Harden popped up in just about every group of inserts I pulled from this box. He is the #1 player on the Rockets and arguably in the league, but I don't know if he's my favorite Rocket. I think I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite player on the team right now. It might be Dwight Howard.

Finally we get into some players that I know and like. Clyde Drexler is a favorite. With his receding hairline and mustache he always looked like someone's uncle who just happened to be a ball player on the side. I guess you don't have to look a certain way (or even bathe) to be a ball player, but I always thought Clyde looked a bit older than he should to be flying so high. Kiki Vandeweghe's name always stood out to me when I would see his cards as a kid. And it was nice to snag a Hakeem Olajuwon Blue Press Proof from the box, as I always like to grab cards for my Dream PC when I can.

Elite is by far the biggest insert in the product. I just picked a handful of the many cards from this set that came out of the box. Robinson and Olajuwon will probably always stand out in my mind when I think of the NBA, as they had some titanic matchups while I was at the peak of my fandom. I guess Patrick Ewing was also a rival to Olajuwon and had a more compelling narrative with the NCAA Championship going to Ewing and the NBA Finals going to Olajuwon, but I liked David Robinson more. The Elite Status Die-Cut parallels are have varying print runs, with the Jonas Valanciunas card I pulled being numbered # 48 / 83. 

The Elite Dominators set seems to be numbered awfully high for a rare pull with a big checklist. There are 50 cards in the list and there are 999 copies of each one. I pulled Derrick Rose, who is injured yet again. It's not his leg this time, though, so that's a change. He just seems to be snake-bitten when it comes to injuries.

There are a fair number of hits in the product for the price point, although for the most part they aren't super exciting. I got a couple of PWS (Plain White Swatches) of Derrick Favors and Carl Landry. Carl Landry has had a pretty decent career after breaking out with Houston over his first few years. He hasn't been a superstar or anything, but he has been serviceable. Derrick Favors was the third overall pick in the 2010 draft and has emerged as one of the statistical leaders of the Utah Jazz.

The final hit of the box is a pretty decent one, especially at the price point of this product. It's a Signature Stars autograph card of Elfrid Payton, the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft. Although his averages from last season weren't outstanding, he did put up some very good games including some triple doubles. This autographed card is numbered # 07 / 40.

Donruss is a fun break because there are so many inserts and parallels that come out of the box. There isn't much in the way of big hit potential, but that keeps the box prices down. I need to collate what I've got so far to find out how close I am to a complete base set. It would be fun to chase a mini-master set with all the base cards and easy inserts, but I don't know if I would want to focus on that at the expense of other collecting goals.

It looks like the Cubs have advanced in the NL Wild Card game with bit of drama and a bench-clearing beaning of their star pitcher after he hit a couple of Pirates. Tensions run high in the playoffs. While I hope they make a deep run and win it all, I figure the Astros will fall sooner rather than later. I'll probably stick to rooting for the AL for a while whenever that happens. I'll probably be pulling for the Blue Jays if / when the Astros are eliminated. If the Astros and Blue Jays get knocked out and the Cubs are still in it I will probably switch sides and pull for the Cubs, since in that scenario the other playoff teams would probably be the Rangers, Royals, and Dodgers. Yuck! I like individual players on each of those teams, but various rules of playoff fandom rule them all out. I don't really have anything against the Cubs, so they win by default. If it becomes a Rangers, Royals, Dodgers, Cardinals playoff then I will just turn the whole thing off and wait for next year.

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