Good:1984 Donruss Baseball card design, 3 hits per box, Decent box price, Extremely cool die-cut parallels, Rated Rookies, Solid patches on low numbered relics, Refreshing change of pace from typical Panini product, Surprising numbering on majority of inserts
Bad: Odd yellowish tint to non-rookie base cards, Sticker drop autographs look bad per usual, They should have short printed some of the Rated Rookies, Rated Rookies easily dinged up, There wasn't 20 die-cuts as promised (more like 13)
Considering this is a low end product, the card design is awesome. 1984 Donruss was one of the coolest looking card design's of the 1980's. I hope this is a trend that catches on, there are several sets from the 1980's and 1990's that I would really like to see revived. Modern vintage products would be refreshing compared to the pre-1960's overload.
The die-cuts are also extremely cool and collectible, I am considering putting together the die-cut base set at the moment. The Rated Rookies card design is also fantastic. The inserts are your typical Panini inserts, but the die-cut versions are pretty intriguing in appearance. The only real complaint I have about Donruss' card design is the extremely odd yellowish tint to the non-Rated Rookie base cards. I'm not sure if they were going for the mold look, but it definitely takes a little away from the appeal.
The checklist is your typical low-mid end basketball card checklist, featuring veterans, rookies and the occasional retired legend in insert sets like Jersey Kings. For once a Panini parallel system is both intriguing and collectible, the decision to go with die-cuts was a great one, outside of maybe Upper Deck SP series, I can't recall seeing so many in one box.
The only complaint I have with the checklist is that I wish they would have either short printed a few of the Rated Rookies or delivered only 6 per box in order to make it somewhat difficult to get a John Wall or other big rookie, but the collectibility of the die-cut set somewhat counterbalances this issue.
This is one of those products where the box price feels just right. For $70, you get a trio of hits, 10-15 die-cuts and a sizable stack of Rated Rookies (29 in my box). As I noted above, the only concern I have is that they give you far too many Rated Rookies per box, it would have been great if they had limited it to 6 like they did with the hockey version of Donruss. However, there is a silver lining, that being the die-cut Rated Rookie, which essentially plays the role of a short printed Rated Rookie without technically being one. Due to the high level of collectibility of the die-cuts, there is some definite value in a box of Donruss.
The hits are extremely hit or miss, but that's a $70 box for you. I was however surprised by the hearty 3-color, 4-tier Jersey Kings Toni Kukoc patch I pulled. The Rated Rookie autos aren't very appealing and outside of John Wall, DMC and a few other big name rookies, I don't see there being much re-sale value.
Fun Factor: 4.25/5
This was an extremely cool product to open due to the 1984 Donruss card design and the die-cuts. I definitely had more fun opening a box Donruss than I did this year's Prestige. It would awesome if this product led to more retro products featuring 80's card design, as I'm burnt out on pre-1960's card design for the most part, especially pre-1900's.
The Bottom Line: 4/5
Donruss Basketball is an extremely solid product that in spite of several flaws is none the less both collectible and intriguing. The 1984 Donruss card design is awesome, so are the die-cut parallels. Every so often a product comes along that revives a nostalgic chapter in modern card history that feels both refreshing and new, with 2010-11 Donruss Basketball, Panini has done just that.
If you're a hardcore basketball collector, set builder or simply nostalgic about the 1980's, I suggest giving 2010-11 Donruss Basketball a shot, even if you don't like it, at worst you'll find yourself out $60-$70.