Buzz Break: 2017-18 Panini Ascension NBA cards (hobby box)

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The box: 2017-18 Panini Ascension NBA (hobby)
Where to buy:

Packs per box:
Cards per pack: 5
Cards in this box: 60
Base set completion: 47 of 100 (47 percent)
Duplicates: 0

Notable players on base cards – Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, Tony Parker, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Dirk Nowitzki, Kristaps Porzingis, Gordon Hayward, Kemba Walker, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Bradley Beal, Mike Conley, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, Kyle Lowry

Inserts/short-prints: 12 (all in gallery below with some base)
Veteran Throwback variations
(1) – Jeremy Lin (Knicks)
Rookie Cards (2) – Lauri Markkanen, Markelle Fultz
Rookie Card variations (2) – Og Anunoby, Jordan Bell
Rookie Red parallel (1) – Lauri Markkanen (/75)
Blue parallel (1) – Tyler Ulis (/125)
Composure (1) – Dennis Schröder
The Thrill of Victory (1) – Damian Lillard
Reaching New Heights (1) – Kawhi Leonard
Making History (2) – Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade

Autographs/Memorabilia: 1
Ascension Autographs (1) – Aaron Gordon (/106)

What’s Buzz-worthy: While some might see this as a brand that puts all the focus on one autograph per box, I see this as a throwback to some of the popular 1990s Fleer NBA releases in that it has plenty of energy, a number of insert sets and plenty to collect without it getting too crazy where you need a spreadsheet to know everything that the product includes. The last 20 cards in the 100-card base set have variations with players on their past teams, while 40 short-printed rookies fall only two per box along with two rookie photo variation cards atop that. (Which ones are which? That’s about the only mystery here but if you get two per box of each one they should be equally produced.) The autographs are a parallel of the base set and then there are colored parallels of each — nothing too complicated — and most of the inserts are parallel-free. The simplicity of this one works for me. The autograph here was of should-have-been-Slam Dunk Contest champ Aaron Gordon, which isn’t a big-money pull but he’s got a decent-looking auto and he’s been on the upward trajectory the last two seasons. Some big names can be found in this one with some surprisingly small — and big — volumes. For example, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden autos here are limited to only 10 copies, while Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all 100 or more copies. It’s an interesting situation for those chasing certain names or a set — and this one feels like a product where that could happen easily. 

Product Grade: A-
Box Grade:
Fun Grade: A-

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