Some within the hobby claim that set building is dead. It's not. It might be a smaller segment than it once was, but there are still lots of collectors who like to piece together a checklist and go after every card. For some, that's the base set. Others add short prints. Some even go for the inserts. 2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops has several elements that target set builders. While there's ample autographs and memorabilia cards, it also has some rare inserts that go about the chase the old-fashioned way -- the chase itself.
2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops has a massive checklist. Even those just building the set outside of the hits and parallels have a lot of cards to track down. Among the basic inserts are a handful of short print sets that don't have much flash. However, they're defined focus and rarity have made them solid finds considering Hoops' low-end pedigree.
Here's a look at some of the tough inserts in 2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops that have nothing to do with autographs, memorabilia or parallels.
At 1:370 packs, this is the toughest insert set in 2014-15 Hoops that isn't serial numbered. With 12 cards on the checklist, that's 1:4,440 packs for any individual card. In other words, don't expect to find singles en masse. The set's roots go back to the 1990s with Magic's All-Rookie Team.
2014-15 Panini NBA Hoops Kobe's All-Rookie Team cards have a big profile shot of Bryant floating in the background. The featured rookie is shown with a full-body jumping shot over top.
As far as the secondary market goes, not all Kobe's All-Rookie Team cards are created equal. Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are among the top cards in the set. Early sales for Wiggins topped $40 while Parker was hitting $30 and up shortly after release. Even commons were selling for around $10 despite not having much in the way of technology beyond a bit of gold foil.
Going by insertion rates, this is the second toughest insert to pull, landing 1:320 packs. However, with just three cards in the set, it's much easier to finish than Kobe's All-Rookie Team. In a perfect world with perfect collation, it would take a little under 1,000 packs to complete. That means that there's likely more than four of each Highlights card compared to each KART card. But with Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Carmelo Anthony, the overall checklist is more dependable.
Over the long-term, don't expect to have to pay a lot for Highlights inserts, but they likely won't take long to dry up. This will likely lead to some sustained demand.
It's a Hoops tradition to have a short print honoring the reigning NBA Champions. However, in the past it has been a card at the end of the main checklist. For 2014-15 NBA Hoops, Panini switched it up a little with a two-card insert set celebrating the Spurs. Cards are inserted 1:133 packs or around 1:5 boxes.
Continuing with the championship theme is a set of eight Champions Trophy Portraits. These focus on a photo session with the Spurs celebrating with the trophy. The result is some candid and emotion-filled shots. Even Tim Duncan is showing a little more charisma that usual.
While insertion rates were released, each is numbered to 99 copies. Given the small number of inserts and Hoops' widespread reach, these aren't going to be easy to find for long.
This one-card insert honors Kawhi Leonard's star-making turn during the NBA Finals. Numbered to 99, it can almost be seen as an extension of the Champions Trophy Portraits.