Monday, October 26, 2015

2015-16 Hoops (hobby)

I really need to get myself in gear, several packs have come and gone that I meant to post, but by time I got myself motivated, somebody else already posted them!

What better motivation is there than the first set of a brand new season?

Hoops is Panini's Flagship set, and this is the 5th year they have produced it. (The Hoops brand is owned by the NBA, which is why it's been produced by 4 different manufacturers now) The set is 300 cards, as is usual, composed of 260 veterans and 40 rookies. Each hobby pack gives you 13 cards, although marked as 12, there is a promo card for the Panini Dunk digital system in each pack. Each pack gives one rookie card and one non-base card, either an insert or a parallel. The parallels look better this year than ever before but they are harder to find- my box yielded only one Green, three Gold, 2 Silver (#'d to 299), one Artist Proof (#'d to 99) and 4 red back. Personally I would rather they did away with the red back and give us more Gold and Green. By time you read this, I will have posted a full box breakdown/review on Cardboard History.

I received the box as a late birthday present, and debated doing the first pack or the best pack, but went with the first one, as the best will be well covered on my own blog.

First card out of the box is #244 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who separated his shoulder in Pre-season and will miss anywhere from half to all of the 2015-16 season. The photo Panini used is slightly blurry, especially his face. Cleanthony Early is a hometown hero of sorts for me, from Middletown NY, that's the closest to home for a professional basketball player since the ABA.

#94 Marco Belinelli. Second year in a row I've pulled him from the first pack of a major release. Belinelli is the first Italian born player to win an NBA title.

#11 Evan Fournier. This is the first card I've seen to show the Magic's alternate sleeved jersey. (There were more later in the box) Note that he is playing against the Cavaliers. Roughly half of the cards in the set were taken with Cleveland as the opponent, it seems.

#26 Tim Hardaway Jr.. One of the few players the Knicks could build around, so of course they traded him. Look, there's the Cavs again.

#247 Danny Green

#241 Jamal Crawford. Enjoy that Clippers road uniform, because the one that replaced it for 2015-16 is the worst jersey in NBA history.

#230 Wesley Matthews. With roughly 1/3rd of the NBA changing teams, NOT an exaggeration, there are a lot of "Signed by/Traded to" tags in this set...Even Card #1 (Ersan Ilyasova) is a traded card, the first time I can recall that happening.

#260 Zach Randolph. This is the last veteran card in the set. Clearly taken in Golden State during the playoffs in 2014-15 season.

Road to the Finals #9 Joakim Noah. Serially numbered #0189/2015. This insert is 100 cards, the largest in the set by a wide margin, and every single playoff game of 2014-15, as well as most of the champion Warriors players get a card in the set. Notably, Steve Kerr is included, he had never coached a single game but guided the Warriors to the the title- but he didn't get a single card last year, as it's been more than a year since Panini included coaches. He is, unfortunately, the only one in the set this year though. Each round is lowered to a lower number, as well. Round one is SN2015, round 2 is SN999, the Semi-finals SN499, the conference finals are SN199 and the Finals themselves are SN99. Also of note, Zaza Pachulia, seen here guarding Noah, is still in the league but is not included in the set. He is likely to be the 6th man for the Mavericks this season, one of dozens of players who changed teams. The set also includes two players who did not get a card in the main set- Beno Udrih (who has not gotten a base card since 2012-13, despite being a starter on the Knicks in 2013-14!) and Jerryd Bayless of the Bucks.

#131 Harrison Barnes. This is the first time since 2012-13 that the cards of the previous season's Finalists were not made using images of the actual NBA finals. This is from the same series, and possibly the same game, as the Zach Randolph card shown above.

#102 Kevin Garnett. When KG takes the floor this season, he will tie the all-time record for seasons played in the NBA, and he has at least one more year on his contract- I suspect he is just hanging around to set the record, as he doesn't have the physical ability to be the superstar he once was.

#299 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, my first pack's rookie...nice to see it was from my long-time favorite team. The rookie cards feature a different design this season, the first time that has been the case in the Panini era of Hoops. (They didn't bother to include any rookies at all in the lockout shortened 2011-12!) 
One per pack Panini Dunk info card. The back is blank white. As I still live without a "smart" phone, these don't really help me much. I've been putting some of the 23 duplicates I ended up with in trade packages...and I'm sure there will be more coming as I will be opening some retail versions of this set as well.

Here's the back of the cards.
One thing I don't like about the back is that it doesn't include full career stats- all previous Hoops releases under the Panini stewardship did. They could have used less space for the name and text and given us more stats. That, and the fact that they limited it to 300 cards, ignoring at the very least 100 players- and the lack of coaches- is the only complaint I have on the set, which I otherwise really like.


Hackenbush said...

They're pretty nice. Lot of border stuff but at least the photos are left alone. I'm a big Noah fan. It's a shame that he can't stay healthy.

JediJeff said...

"The Hoops brand is owned by the NBA, which is why it's been produced by 4 different manufacturers now"

Learn something new every day.

Mark Kaz said...

Great looking cards!