2013-14 Panini Select Preview

2013-14 Panini Select Basketball comes out next week.  Panini just recently uploaded a bunch of images to their blog.  You can see the entire blog HERE.

The product actually changed quite a bit from last year.  Last year it was 4 Autographs per box.  The rookies were not part of the base set (aside from Damian Lilliard).  There were only 3 parallels: Prizm, Prizm Gold #ed /10 and Prizm Black #ed /1.  It was a pretty basic product honestly.  Most of the autographs were RCs.  There were 25 veteran jersey Autos, but that was it.

This year several things have changed.  I’ll start with the bad.  The bad change is that now you only get 2 Autograph cards.  You still get 4 hits, but 2 of them will now be jerseys or patches with no autograph.  The price is the same, so that makes the product sound quite a bit worse.  If that’s all you look at, you won’t like this year’s Select.  One thing to remember though is that you do still get 4 hits.  If the jerseys have a good mix of players like Kobe, LeBron, Durant, Magic, Bird, etc. aren’t those better than a lot of $1 rookie autographs?  Plus all these jerseys will have a bunch of parallels.  I’d much rather get a LeBron jersey #ed to 49 than just a good portion of the rookie autos.

However, digging deeper the value is still there.  Let’s take a look at the good changes.  The best change is that the RCs are now part of the base set.  This may sound simple, but it does 2 things.  The first thing it does is it makes the base sets much more collectible and valuable.  I’m not saying these will be $100 sets now, but they might be worth $40-$50 now instead of nothing.  Last year the sets weren’t worth much of anything.  The second thing it does is it allows you to pull a parallel of a RC without it being one of your hit cards.  Last year all the Prizms, Gold Prizms and Black Prizms of the base set were all veterans.  Some veterans certainly have value, but many do not.  On average, you’re much better off getting a RC parallel than a veteran.

Speaking of parallels, we see a HUGE improvement there.  This year you have Prizm, Purple, Blue, Gold, Green and Black.  That’s 3 new levels of parallels.  That makes it much easier to hit a parallel and also adds to the collectors who like to build the rainbows of their favorite players.  These parallels are in all the inserts, jerseys and autographs.  So the boxes should be much more colorful this year.  I’m assuming every box will have at least 1-2 numbered parallels.  Last year you’d be lucky to get a numbered parallel in 6 boxes.

The last improvement I’d like to touch on is the fact that there are a lot more veteran autographs this year.  Some years I would view this as a negative.  If you have a great rookie class, you don’t really want a bunch of veteran autos.  However, this isn’t a great rookie class.  So I’d much rather get a solid veteran/retired auto than a rookie who has very little promise.  That’s not to say that all veteran autos are a good thing.  On the blog they certainly showed a few that I would question like Brandon Bass, Enes Kanter, Theo Ratliff and Ramon Sessions.  Those guys don’t have much value.  But I promise there will be more good veteran content.  There wasn’t a single retired autograph in last year’s Select.  I haven’t seen a checklist, but based on the Panini blog I know that Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving all have on-card autographs.

I’ll reserve my final judgement until I see some of this product opened.  I suspect there will be some boxes that are duds.  But I also believe there will be more chase this year with all the color and with the higher end veteran and retired autographs. Enjoy the images.

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