The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review

After hitting the shelves for its’ most recent release on October 1st, Donruss Optic is now five years old and has finally become one of the industry’s more respected basketball products. However, it remains one of the final releases for the 2020-21 NBA season and comes just before the 2021-22 season begins, so many collectors forget about it. But fear not, the 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball review gives the release the attention it deserves.

But Donruss Optic may eventually become a member of the elite basketball card tier. So, let’s take a look at the 2020-21 product.

History Of Donruss Optic

When it comes to sports card collecting, it seems like everyone loves a shiny card. That is why Topps Chrome and Panini Prizm sets have exploded in value over the past few years. Likewise, the love of chrome was one of the reasons Donruss Optic debuted in the 2016-17 NBA season.

Before Donruss started selling basketball cards, it had plenty of success in football. The 2016-17 Donruss Optic basketball series was a big hit partially due to a base card featuring LeBron James being guarded by Kobe Bryant.

But besides the love for chrome-style cards, collectors love owning licensed rookie cards with players in their professional uniforms, including on-card Rated Rookie Signatures, which are facilitated by the late release date.

It is also one of the most popular sets to collect because of the parallels, which feature many different colors, many kinds of numbered cards, and some scarce and unique cards for each player.

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review Of Release Formats

Hobby Box

  • 20 Packs
  • 4 Cards Per Pack ($60 per pack)
  • 1 Autograph
  • 20 Parallels or Inserts
  • Availability

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic basketball hobby box will be the only place to obtain the Gold Vinyl Parallels (1/1), 6 Different Hobby Exclusive Inserts (Elite Dominators, All-Stars, The Rookies, Lights Out, Star Gazing, Rainmakers), and the Super Short Printed Photon Base and Rookie cards.

Optic hobby boxes are available on eBay.

FOTL Box

  • 12 Boxes per Case ($14,349.95)
  • 20 Packs
  • 4 Cards Per Pack
  • 1 Autograph
  • 1 Purple Stars FOTL or Rated Rookies Purple Stars FOTL (#’ d/13)
  • 19 Parallels or Inserts
  • Availability

FOTL Hobby Boxes have become popular recently. They feature all the same Hobby-Only exclusives but guarantee at least one Purple Stars parallel in each box.

Choice Box

  • 1 Pack
  • 6 Cards Per Pack
  • 2 Base Rated Rookies Choice
  • 1 Autograph
  • 3 Parallels (Holo, Choice Red, Exclusive Choice Parallel)
  • Availability

The Choice Hobby Boxes are the only place you can find the Choice Dragon SSP and One-of-One Nebula parallels.

Hobby Hybrid H2

  • 4 Packs
  • 10 Cards Per Pack
  • 8 Exclusive Prizms
  • 2 Holos & 2 Inserts
  • Availability

Besides the exclusive Prizms included in the Hobby Hybrid boxes, you will also get a chance at grabbing the Red Pulsar, Blue Pulsar, or Gold Pulsar (#’ d/10) parallels that are only found in Hybrid boxes.

Fast Break Box

  • 20 Boxes per Case (About $10,000)
  • 18 Packs
  • 5 Cards Per Pack
  • 1 Autograph
  • 18 Parallels or Inserts
  • Availability

The Fast Break boxes will also give collectors a chance to land one of the seven parallel sets from the Fast Break set, including the Black parallels, numbered to one.

TMall Box (Asia Exclusive)

  • 20 Packs

Retail Blaster Box

  • 28 Cards Per Box
  • 7 Parallels or Inserts
  • Availability

If you are ever lucky enough to find a Blaster Box in a retail store, be quick to grab them because they will include the very rare Checkerboard Prizms.

Retail Mega Box

  • 40 Cards Per Box
  • 10 Mega Box Exclusive Hyper Pink Prizms
  • Availability

Target Complete Set

  • 200 cards
  • 150 base
  • 50 Base Target Rated Rookies

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review: Checklist Information

Donruss Optic returns for the 2020-21 season with a total base set featuring 200 cards: 150 veterans and 50 rated rookies.

The entire set of 2020-21 Donruss Optic is loaded with rookies. The quality of the class is controversial. However, if you believe in this group, the release includes on-card autographs and action scenes from their rookie season.

Some of the rookie cards you can find in the 2020-21 Donruss Optic series are:

  • LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Patrick Williams, Tyrese Haliburton, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Aleksej Pokusevski, Saddiq Bay, and RJ Hampton

Aside from the valuable rookie cards in this series, this is the second season for Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, Coby White, Rui Hachimura, Cam Reddish, Tyler Herro, Darius Bazley, Eric Paschall, Bol Bol, and Terence Davis.

Aside from the rookies, there are some strong second-years in this series (picture taken from Panini).

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Parallels

Eventually, trading cards are going to run out of colors for their parallels. But until that happens, companies seem determined to churn out new types of parallels each year.

Donruss Optic 2020-2021 Parallels:

  • Blue Pulsar
  • Blue Velocity
  • Checkerboard
  • Choice Red and Green
  • Dragon Choice
  • Fanatics Box Set
  • Fast Break Holo
  • Gold Wave
  • Holo
  • Photon
  • Pink Hyper
  • Purple
  • Purple Shock
  • Red Pulsar
  • Red Wave
  • Target Box Set
  • Premium Box Set – /249
  • Orange – /199
  • Lime Green – /149
  • Red – /99
  • Fast Break Purple – /95
  • Red Choice – /88
  • Fast Break Red – /85
  • Pink Velocity – /79
  • Blue – /59
  • Fast Break Blue – /50
  • Black Velocity – /39
  • Pink – /25
  • Fast Break Pink – /20
  • Purple Stars FOTL – /13
  • Fast Break Gold – /10
  • Gold – /10
  • Gold Pulsar – /10
  • Black Gold Choice – /8
  • Lucky Envelopes – /8
  • Green – /5
  • Black – /1
  • Fast Break Black – /1
  • Gold Vinyl – /1
  • Nebula Choice – /1

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review Of Autographs

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball set is one of the best sets from the 2020-21 NBA season for autographs. They feature everything from all the rookies from the 2020-21 NBA season to legendary Hall of Famers in their signature sets, all of which are on-card autos. But the Gold Vinyl might be the stud from this series in terms of future value.

Dominators Signatures: 40 Cards

  • Parallels:
    • Gold (#/10)
    • Gold Vinyl (#/1)
  • Dominators Signatures are #’d to 99 except for the following cards:
    • Bradley Beal, LaMarcus Aldridge, Domantas Sabonis, Trae Young, Gordon Hayward, Donovan Mitchell (#/49)
    • Jayson Tatum, Kawhi Leonard (#/25)
1 Otto Porter Jr.
2 Kevin Huerter
3 Bradley Beal
4 Shake Milton
5 Jarrett Allen
6 Markelle Fultz
7 Zach Collins
8 Cam Reddish
9 Kyle Kuzma
10 Joe Harris
11 Lauri Markkanen
12 Mike Conley
13 J.J. Barea
14 LaMarcus Aldridge
15 Myles Turner
16 Devonte’ Graham
17 Lou Williams
18 Domantas Sabonis
19 Trae Young
20 Mo Bamba
21 Gordon Hayward
22 Thomas Bryant
23 Jarrett Culver
24 Spencer Dinwiddie
25 Kelly Oubre Jr.
26 Jayson Tatum
27 Cameron Johnson
28 Bam Adebayo
29 Kelly Olynyk
30 Lonzo Ball
31 Kawhi Leonard
32 Duncan Robinson
33 Jrue Holiday
34 John Collins
35 Donovan Mitchell
36 Tobias Harris
37 Patrick Beverley
38 Boban Marjanovic
39 Anfernee Simons
40 Donte DiVincenzo

Fast Break Signatures

100 cards

  • Parallels:
    • Gold (#/10)
    • Black (#/1)
  • The Fast Break Signatures set can only be found in the Fast Break boxes.

Rated Rookies Signatures

50 Cards

  • Parallels:
    • Choice, Fast Break, Holo, Purple
    • Purple Fast Break (#/50)
    • Blue (#/49)
    • Pink (#/25)
    • Pulsar (#/19)
    • Gold (#/10)
    • Black Gold Choice (#/8)
    • Green (#/5)
    • Black (#/1)
    • Black Fast Break (#/1)
    • Checkerboard (#/1)
    • Gold Vinyl (#/1)
  • Premium Box Set: Panini released 249 Factory Box Sets featuring one of the Rated Rookies (#151-180) numbered to 10.

Retro Series Signatures

30 Cards

  • Parallels:
    • Gold (#/10)
    • Gold Vinyl (#/1)
  • The Retro Series Signatures are almost all numbered to 99 except for the following cards, which are only numbered to 49: Ray Allen, Chris Mullin, Elgin Baylor, Allen Iverson, and Kevin Garnett
1 Shawn Kemp
2 Jack Sikma
3 Baron Davis
4 Kenny “Sky” Walker
5 Rod Strickland
6 Alex English
7 Magic Johnson
8 Dino Radja
9 Robert Horry
10 Isaiah Rider
11 Ray Allen
12 Al Harrington
13 B.J. Armstrong
14 Toni Kukoc
15 Rik Smits
16 Michael Cooper
17 Paul Pierce
18 Chris Mullin
19 Elgin Baylor
20 Allen Iverson
21 Rick Barry
22 Nate Archibald
23 Terry Porter
24 Jason Williams
25 Calvin Murphy
26 Wally Szczerbiak
27 Kevin Garnett
28 Mehmet Okur
29 Xavier McDaniel
30 Jerry West

Rookie Dominators

30 Cards

  • Parallels:
    • Gold (#/10) *Excluding Jalen Smith
    • Gold Vinyl (#/1)
Rookie Dominators is an old favorite (get them on eBay).
1 Anthony Edwards
2 James Wiseman
3 LaMelo Ball
4 Patrick Williams
5 Isaac Okoro
6 Onyeka Okongwu
7 Killian Hayes
8 Obi Toppin
9 Deni Avdija
10 Jalen Smith
11 Devin Vassell
12 Tyrese Haliburton
13 Kira Lewis Jr.
14 Aaron Nesmith
15 Cole Anthony
16 Isaiah Stewart
17 Aleksej Pokusevski
18 Josh Green
19 Saddiq Bey
20 Precious Achiuwa
21 Tyrese Maxey
22 Jae’Sean Tate
23 RJ Hampton
24 Immanuel Quickley
25 Payton Pritchard
26 Udoka Azubuike
27 Malachi Flynn
28 Desmond Bane
29 Daniel Oturu
30 Jordan Nwora

Signature Series

100 Cards

  • Parallels:
    • Choice, Green, Green Wave, Holo, Purple
    • Blue (#/25)
    • Pink (#/25)
    • Pulsar (#/17)
    • Gold (#/10)
    • Black Gold Choice (#/8)
    • Black (#/1)
    • Checkerboard (#/1)
    • Gold Vinyl (#/1)
  • Excluded Players from the Signature Series includes:
    • Markelle Fultz (No Choice, Gold, or Black Gold Choice)
    • Jalen Smith (No Gold or Gold Vinyl)

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review Of  Inserts

There is something special about opening a pack of cards and seeing an insert towards the back. They are about as valuable as the base cards, but they present another item a collector will want to think about when chasing down the 2020-21 Donruss Optic series.

Air Defense

5 Cards

  • Gold Wave
  • Holo
  • Purple
  • Red Wave
  • Lime Green (#/149)
  • Blue (#/85)
  • Orange (#/39)
  • Pink (#/25)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Black (#/1)

All Stars

20 Cards

  • Blue Pulsar
  • Fast Break
  • Holo
  • Red Pulsar
  • Red (#/99)
  • Blue (#/49)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Gold Pulsar (#/10)
  • Green (#/5)
  • Gold Vinyl (#/1)

Elite Dominators

25 Cards

  • Blue Pulsar
  • Fast Break
  • Holo
  • Red Pulsar
  • Red (#/99)
  • Blue (#/49)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Gold Pulsar (#/10)
  • Green (#/5)
  • Gold Vinyl (#/1)
We like the Elite Dominator parallels (picture taken from Panini).

Express Lane

25 Cards

  • Gold Wave
  • Holo
  • Purple
  • Red Wave
  • Lime Green (#/149)
  • Blue (#/85)
  • Orange (#/39)
  • Pink (#/25)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Black (#/1)

Lights Out

15 Cards

  • Blue Pulsar
  • Fast Break
  • Holo
  • Red Pulsar
  • Red (#/99)
  • Blue (#/49)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Gold Pulsar (#/10)
  • Green (#/5)
  • Gold Vinyl (#/1)
What do you think of the Lights Out parallels? (picture taken from Panini).

My House

20 Cards

  • Gold Wave
  • Holo
  • Purple
  • Red Wave
  • Lime Green (#/149)
  • Blue (#/85)
  • Orange (#/39)
  • Pink (#/25)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Black (#/1)

Raining 3’s

20 Cards

  • Blue Pulsar
  • Fast Break
  • Holo
  • Red Pulsar
  • Red (#/99)
  • Blue (#/49)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Gold Pulsar (#/10)
  • Green (#/5)
  • Gold Vinyl (#/1)

Splash!

15 Cards

  • Gold Wave
  • Holo
  • Purple
  • Red Wave
  • Lime Green (#/149)
  • Blue (#/85)
  • Orange (#/39)
  • Pink (#/25)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Black (#/1)

Star Gazing

15 Cards

  • Blue Pulsar
  • Fast Break
  • Holo
  • Red Pulsar
  • Red (#/99)
  • Blue (#/49)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Gold Pulsar (#/10)
  • Green (#/5)
  • Gold Vinyl (#/1)

T-Minus 3…2…1…

15 Cards

  • Gold Wave
  • Holo
  • Purple
  • Red Wave
  • Lime Green (#/149)
  • Blue (#/85)
  • Orange (#/39)
  • Pink (#/25)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Black (#/1)

The Rookies

5 Cards

  • Blue Pulsar
  • Fast Break
  • Holo
  • Red Pulsar
  • Red (#/99)
  • Blue (#/49)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Gold Pulsar (#/10)
  • Green (#/5)
  • Gold Vinyl (#/1)

Winner Stays

20 Cards

  • Gold Wave
  • Holo
  • Purple
  • Red Wave
  • Lime Green (#/149)
  • Blue (#/85)
  • Orange (#/39)
  • Pink (#/25)
  • Gold (#/10)
  • Black (#/1)

The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review Of  Value

If we were looking into the future to figure out if the 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball set was worth investing in or not, then we first would have to look at the history of both the singles and the wax. Thanks to Zion Williamson and Ja Morant causing a massive chase for their cards last year, 2019-20 Donruss Optic boxes are still selling for close to $1,000. Even the Retail Blaster boxes will be $150, while the Retail Mega boxes sell for $250.

The industry has changed, and so has the value of everything. So, you will no longer be able to obtain anything from Donruss Optic Basketball on the cheap.

2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review Of Singles Value

For the past five years, Donruss Optic Basketball has been fighting for a spot of its’ own among the elite trading card sets. However, the appeal has grown, and more people have become aware of the set. The increased cache of the set has raised the value of singles from the older sets.  Of course, it helps that these releases included desirable rookies like Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Zion Williamson, and Ja Morant.

Here is a quick look at some of the more valuable PSA 10 cards from the past few years.

2016-17 Rookie Kings Aqua Ben Simmons /25 $1,500
2017-18 Green Emerald Jayson Tatum /5 $15,500
2017-18 Premium Box Auto Jayson Tatum /10 $15,000
2018-19 Blue Luka Doncic /49 $44,100
2019-20 Choice Dragon Zion Williamson $12,445
2019-20 Premium Box Auto Zion Williamson /10 $18,100
The Zion Choice Dragon has a strong value (look for one on eBay).

2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review Of Wax Value

If you would rather gamble on your investment, or flip it, get yourself some Donruss Optic wax. The pricing of boxes from 2018 to 2020 is on the lower end of the pricing charts. Possibly allowing you more room for a return on your investment.

Blaster Value

2017-2018 Blaster $155
2018-2019 Blaster $419
2019-2020 Blaster $159

With blasters currently available for $59, there seems to be little chance that you will lose money by buying the blasters. The 2020-2021 blasters may not reach the price of previous years due to over-saturation and a questionable rookie class. But it is far more likely to go up from the current price than down.

Hobby Box Value

2017-2018 Hobby Box $915
2018-2019 Hobby Box $4,000
2019-2020 Hobby Box $1,200

The hobby box is a less attractive option to hold. Currently selling for around $750, you are not likely to lose money on a hobby box, but unless one of the rookies turns into a Zion or Luca type star, the return will likely be minimal.

The 2017-2018 hobby box is particularly valuable (get them on eBay).

But since the rookie class dictates the value of any season of sports trading cards, why not start buying the more elite classes?

Bottomline Of The 2020-21 Donruss Optic Basketball Review

It is rare to purchase a box of cards that dates back to the previous season, but Donruss Optic comes out so late that you get to enjoy a stroll down memory lane when opening it. It is also one of the few places to find rookie cards featuring rookies playing in regular-season NBA games, making it more valuable. The release is a good one, and it looks as though Panini has been listening to their fans and making improvements.

But suppose you are looking to keep these cards for the long term. In that case, you might want to reconsider because their value is in those strong rookie classes, and they tend to fluctuate before declining in overall value a few years later unless the rookie has shown to be much more than anyone ever imagined.

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