Las Vegas: The National Basketball Association announced details about the NBA In-Season Tournament today. This will be a new game that all 30 teams will take part in every year, starting with the regular season of 2023–2024.
The first In-Season Tournament will start on Friday, November 3, in NBA team markets. The Semifinals (Thursday, December 7) and Championship (Saturday, December 9) will be played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Joe Dumars, NBA Executive Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations, said, “We’re excited to start the NBA In-Season Tournament because it gives us a chance to improve and change our season structure.” “By adding this new big event to the NBA schedule, we want to give players and teams another chance to win, engage fans in a different way, and get more people excited about the early part of the regular season.”
The In-Season Tournament will have Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.
1. Group Play
As revealed today on ESPN and described below, all 30 teams have been randomly drawn into groups of five within their conference based on win-loss records from the 2022-23 regular season. Each team will play one game against the other in its group, with two games at home and two on the road. These games will take place on “Tournament Nights,” which will happen every Tuesday and Friday from November 3 to November 28 (except on Election Day, which is November 7). On Tournament Nights, the only NBA games that will be played are Group Play games.
2. Knockout Rounds
In the Knockout Rounds, a total of eight teams will progress. This includes the team with the highest score in Group Play games from each of the six groups, as well as two “wild cards” – the team from each conference with the best record in Group Play games that came second in their group. The Quarterfinals (Monday, December 4, and Tuesday, December 5) and Semifinals and Championship (Thursday, December 7, and Saturday, December 9) will be single-elimination games. These games will be played in NBA team markets on Monday, December 4, and Tuesday, December 5. The Knockout teams will play for a prize pool and the NBA Cup, the new award for the In-Season Tournament.
All but the final game of the In-Season Tournament will count toward the results for the regular season. In the 2023–24 season, each team will still play 82 regular-season games. This includes games in Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.
There will be national coverage of all 14 Group Play games (two on each Tournament Night) and all 7 Knockout Round games. The games and times they will be shown will be set for the In-Season Tournament Group Play stage in August.
Group Play Draw
To select each team’s opponents in the Group Play games, the 15 teams in each conference were divided into three groups of five teams via a random drawing. Here are the groups:
Before the drawing, each team was put into a “pot” based on how it did in the previous year’s regular season (2022–23). One team from each pot was chosen at random to be in each of the three groups at each meeting. Here’s what the pots looked like:
- Pot 1: The teams with the three best prior-season records in a conference.
- Pot 2: The teams with the fourth- through sixth-best prior-season records.
- Pot 3: The teams with the seventh- through ninth-best prior-season records.
- Pot 4: The teams with the 10th– through 12th-best prior-season records.
- Pot 5: The teams with the 13th– through 15th-best prior-season records.
In each conference, the two teams with the best records in Group Play games will host the Quarterfinal games, and the team with the best Group Play record will host the wild card team.
On Wednesday, December 6, and Friday, December 8, when there are no In-Season Tournament games, the 22 teams that didn’t make it to the Knockout Rounds will each play two regular-season games. On December 8, each of the four teams that lose in the Quarterfinals will play a regular-season game.
For the 2023–2024 season, the prize money from the In-Season Tournament will be given to the following NBA players on teams that play in the Knockout Rounds:
- Players on the winning team of the Championship: $500,000 each
- Players on the losing team of the Championship: $200,000 each
- Players on the losing team of the Semifinals: $100,000 each
- Players on the losing team of Quarterfinals: $50,000 each
The NBA will name the Most Valuable Player of the In-Season Tournament and the All-Tournament Team after the tournament. The players will be chosen based on how well they did in both the Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.
Tickets and NBA Experiences for the Semifinals and Championship will be sold at NBAEvents.com. Premium experiences are on sale now, and individual game tickets will be on sale on Monday, July 10.