2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball Review

Panini Flawless is as premium as basketball cards get. The 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball review is here to determine if the release lives up to the hype.

Flawless is set to drop on January 21st. Unfortunately, the industry-wide release delays have affected this set – Panini has pushed back the release date twice already. So, in all honesty, there’s no promise that the January 21st date is set in stone. But if you’re on the lookout for the best NBA cards on the market, Panini Flawless is worth the wait.

Panini Flawless Basketball Still on the Throne

The Flawless line allows Panini to see how far they can push the limits on premium cards. It’s a line that caters to the most serious collectors and investors, those willing to pay a hefty price to get their hands on a case.

Panini ensures that every detail in this line is, well, flawless. The presentation is pristine. Cases are delivered in a high-quality metal box that looks more like a briefcase holding top-secret documents than a box of sports cards. Inside, the package will contain two cards already in protective cases.

And the cards themselves are worthy of the presentation. Base cards are limited to a maximum of 20 and include embedded diamonds. Every non-diamond card is an auto. And Flawless doesn’t use stickers. Instead, all autographs are made directly onto the card.

The set also includes a lot of memorabilia cards:

  • Game worn patches
  • Logoman
  • Laundry Tags
  • Championship Tags

The setlist typically features a mix of rookies, veterans, and legends. And unlike its sister release, Panini Flawless College Basketball, these cards are fully licensed and use the pro uniforms.

Flawless Basketball comes in a signature briefcase (picture taken from Panini)

2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball Review: Pros

When it comes to Flawless Basketball, just about everything is good.

It’s a dream set for any collector. And while the diamonds and game patches make for flashy cards, our favorite aspect of Flawless is the incredibly low print runs. Each of the base cards is limited to 20, and finding parallels that are #/10, #/5, or even 1/1 in a given set is pretty common.

Among the unique memorabilia offerings, we particularly love the logoman card. This game-worn patch is just the cutout of the NBA logo. It’s a clean look and a 1/1. Therefore, logoman cards can draw over $15,000 on the singles market and find one can pay for the entire box.

20-21 Flawless is set to feature a triple logoman for the first time. Prior double logoman cards have been immensely popular, so there could be huge.

The 1/1 logoman is a central draw for Flawless. Look for more on eBay.

2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball Review: Cons

The obvious glaring issue with Panini Flawless is the price. There have been many fluctuations in price in the weeks leading up to release. Some retailers are currently pre-selling the box for as high as $12,000.

Still, it’s not necessarily something we’d change. It’s not that the cards are overpriced –  they are really just that good. A lower price would mean higher print runs, which would reduce the value. And if you’re buying Flawless, you’re purchasing the exclusivity that such a high price point can bring.

That said, the drawback is the risk that is involved for investors. While each card is generally a hit, you’re only getting 10 cards per box. That means to make your money back on the singles market; you’d need to sell each one for $1,200.

While that can happen – a triple diamond Luka RC alone went for $15k last month – the downside is enormous on a relatively low-value box.

Usually, when ripping on a disappointing pack, you’re watching tens or hundreds of dollars go down the drain. But, unfortunately, with Flawless, that number is thousands. So ultimately, the Flawless set is not a great choice unless you can stomach thousands of dollars in potential loss.

2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball Review Of Release Formats

There’s only one way to get your hands on Flawless basketball cards, and that is through the hobby box. It is available through Panini as well as exclusive retailers.

Price

As mentioned above, some retailers sell the box in the neighborhood of $12,000. However, you can get it for around $10,000 as well. That price might end up being higher or lower, depending on availability and when you buy.

Contents

Here’s what to expect  when buying a case:

Cards per pack- 10

Packs per box- 1

Boxes per case- 2

And here’s the breakdown of what you’ll see in each pack:

Autographs – 8
Additional Autographs or Memorabilia Cards – 1
Diamond Cards – 1

2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball Review Of Parallels

While the setlist is still TBA, we can get a reasonably accurate idea of this year’s Flawless will look like based on previous editions.

Numbered Parallels

Here’s 3 of the most frequently sold numbered parallels from the 19-20 set:

  • Flawless Patch Autographs Set Checklist

41 cards.

PARALLEL CARDS: Ruby #/15, Gold #/10, Emerald #/5, Platinum 1/1.

  • Momentous Autographs Set Checklist

55 cards. Serial numbered #/25.

PARALLEL CARDS: Ruby #/15, Gold #/10, Emerald #/5, Amethyst #/3 Platinum 1/1

  • Premium Ink Set Checklist

40 cards. Serial numbered #/25.

PARALLEL CARDS: Ruby #/15, Gold #/10, Emerald #/5, Amethyst #/3, Platinum 1/1

Once again, there’s no guarantee that the numbers will be the same this year. Still, it should give you a good idea of what the similarities in a Flawless set are like and what their print runs are.

1/1 parallels

The 2019-20 set also saw quite a few 1/1 parallels, that included:

  • NBA Logo Gems Set Checklist- 10 cards
  • Dual logoman Set Checklist- 15 cards.
  • Championship Tags Set Checklist- 20 cards (#/2)
  • Team Logo Gems Set Checklist- 10 cards

Getting your hands on one of these is like hitting the lottery.

There are a lot of big hits in Flawless. However, the triple logoman is probably the cream of the crop.

2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball Review Of Value

So, are Flawless cards worth the investment?

As we’ve already said, it’s not a wise investment for someone who can’t risk a thousand. But for high-risk investors, the payoffs can be huge – both in the singles market and in wax value.

Wax

The idea that a particular year’s wax value tends to “go as its rookies go” is true of any set. However, for premium cards like Flawless, even more so.

For example, the elite 2018-19 class includes Luka, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and more, is therefore valued at $24,000. Compared to the 2019-20 class (which still has quite a few standouts but isn’t quite at the level as the preceding class), that has only had marginal gains in value and is currently priced at $14,000.

The 2020-21 NBA Rookie Class

A gamble on holding a 20-21 hobby box is a gamble on its rookies. So how promising were last year’s rookies?

Big Names

The problem with the 20-21 class is that it lacks the emergent star we’ve seen in others. ‘18 had Luka, ‘19 had Zion, but ‘20 has…Lamelo Ball? Anthony Edwards? These guys are great players who could have HOF-type careers. Nonetheless, they don’t currently have the name value to add thousands of dollars to their class single-handedly.

By the Numbers

Statistically, the ‘20 class did impress last season. Lamelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton both ranked in the top 60 in VORP (an advanced stat that is probably the best indicator of overall value).

Compare that to the previous class, which had only one player in the top 100 (Ja Morant at 95), and it’s clear that the headliners of this class came into the league more NBA ready.

2nd Year Breakouts

So far this year, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball are playing huge roles on their resurging teams. As a result, there have been murmurs of outside chances at all-star bids for each of them. In addition, guys like Tyrese Maxey (Phi) and Cole Anthony (Orl) have carved out roles as starters on their respective teams.

Still, it doesn’t conjure the same excitement we had over the MVP whispers Luka (‘18) was getting in his 2nd year or the firm all-star selection that Trae Young (‘18) and Zion (‘19) had in theirs.

The 2020-21 rookie class certainly hasn’t been a flop at all. But thus far, they haven’t shown anything to suggest that the 2020-21 hobby box could add thousands of dollars of value in the next few years. But there is no reason to believe it will drop in price either.

Singles

It’s tough to gauge the singles market for Flawless Basketball because transactions are relatively rare. In addition, it is not common for cards to have multiple sales. Therefore, it’s not easy to quantify how they hold value.

Still, Panini Flawless is known for being top of the line, and as long as that reputation holds, rookies that go on to prominent careers should explode in value.

If you are buying and ripping hobby boxes in hopes of pulling singles that will make you big money on the singles market, there is a significant potential upside. There are dozens of cards that have sold in the $10-20,000 dollar range in the past month.

2019-2020 Ja Morant Vertical Patch RC (PSA 10) $30,100
2013 Kobe Bryant Dual Patch Auto Gold /10 (BGS 9.5) $16,450
2018-19 Trae Young RPA /15 (BGS 9.5) $15,000
2015-16 Stephen Curry Premium Ink /15 (BGS 9.5) $12,500
Is there a Ja Morant in the 2020-2021 class? Look for more Ja Flawless cards on eBay.

Bottomline Of The 2020-21 Panini Flawless Basketball

Panini Flawless is the best of the best in basketball cards. The idea of buying and ripping a box that you paid $12,000 for is enough to make your hands shake. With its low print runs, exclusive game-worn merch cards, and abundance of on-card autos, nearly every card in a Panini Flawless box is a hit.

That said, investors need to consider the price. The resale value of many of these boxes after opening isn’t going to cover the upfront investment. So, the best bet with these is holding onto the box and hoping that the 20-21 rookie class ends up being a big one.

CardLines