Originally Posted by AlabamaSlamma
here's some bullet points to get you started. others can fill in the gaps as they see fit.
-in terms of value, 03-04 is arguably the most desirable (the other side of the argument will be made below). it was the first year of exquisite in any sport, and 03-04 is far and away the most expensive version on the market. it includes rookie year LLs of lebron/wade/carmelo as well as a solid mix of veterans (ewing, jordan, magic, bird, stockton, rodman, etc). each player had a single release numbered to 75. there's a limited number of players who also have a 'throwback' variation. this variation is included within the player's single print run of 75. the most notable is carmelo - some of his throwback variations have gorgeous 5 and 6 color patches from the retro rainbow nuggets jerseys of the 70s.
-04-05 is a lot of collectors favorite design year. these cards are very sharp - they have a holofoil border around the patch window and holofoil lettering. there are some cool players in this year's iteration that dont show up in subsequent years (gasol & jason williams come to mind). each is numbered to 50, but UD did a kind of 'home and away' release of several key players. for example, dwight howard has a blue and white version and each is numbered to 50. thus, there's a higher print run in 04-05 for certain guys than 03-04.
-05-06 is probably the least desirable year. the design was pretty bland and the rookie class wasn't too great. almost all are numbered to 50 with a few exceptions (russell & erving are in the 20s). however, there's 2 very popular player who's only LL issue was 05-06.
-06-07 is another very popular design. UD went with gold lettering and a gold border around the patch window. all are numbered to 50. this design would be somewhat recycled in 09-10, but with one key exception
-07-08 was a complete design overhaul. some people like it, some dont. UD switched to a beige with gold streaks background and a slightly smaller patch window. all are numbered to 50. the primary hit from this year would be durant's rc year LL. this is the one set that does not include an MJ. however, this marked the first year kobe signed a full 'Kobe Bryant' signature in an LL release (as opposed to his traditional 'Kobe' auto).
-08-09 is hugely popular with collectors, and with good reason. the strength of the rookie class combined with the lower number release for each player (each is numbered to 25 except for MJ I believe) makes this year very desirable. this is the first year UD went with a horizontal design and had players sign vertically up the right side of the card. similar to 03-04, there are 2 different variations for certain players; a regular run and a 'throwback' run. the 'throwback' line features a patch from a team's old school game worn jersey. unlike the throwbacks in 03-04 LL, these are a completely separate set from the base run, so a player like kevin love who has both a regular and throwback version will have 50 total limited logos cards in the set.
-09-10 is the other side of the argument to 03-04. while the design was a return to that of the 06-07 version (with a few minor changes), UD got really weird with their numbering. I believe the highest print run in this set is right around 20. there were a number of high end collectors who chose to put this set together, which means many of the lower numbered players are all but 'gone' from the open market. as an example, the 09-10 brandon roy LL just sold for a little over 300 bucks. why so much for a guy who will never be anywhere near the popularity or value that he was in his prime? because theres only 10 of them in existence.