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Here's everything to know about the NBA's new In-Season Tournament

Here's everything to know about the NBA's new In-Season Tournament

On Saturday, the NBA unveiled details of the league's In-Season Tournament, a new annual competition for all 30 teams that will debut in the 2023-24 regular season.

The inaugural In-Season Tournament will tip off on Nov. 3 in NBA team markets and culminate with the playing of the Semifinals (Dec. 7) and Championship (Dec. 9) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“We are excited to introduce the NBA In-Season Tournament as an opportunity to further enhance and innovate around our season structure,” said Joe Dumars, NBA Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations. “With the addition of this new marquee event on the NBA calendar, we are focused on providing players and teams with another competition to win, engaging fans in a different way and driving further interest in the early portion of the regular-season schedule.”

The In-Season Tournament will consist of two stages: Group Play and the Knockout Rounds. 

  • Group Play: As revealed today on ESPN and outlined 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 four designated Group Play games – one game against each opponent in its group, with two games at home and two on the road – on “Tournament Nights,” which will take place every Tuesday and Friday from Nov. 3-28 (with the exception of Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 7, when no games will be played).  The only NBA games played on Tournament Nights will be Group Play games.
  • Knockout Rounds: Eight teams will advance to the Knockout Rounds:  the team with the best standing in Group Play games in each of the six groups and two “wild cards” (the team from each conference with the best record in Group Play games that finished second in its group).  The Knockout Rounds will consist of single-elimination games in the Quarterfinals (played in NBA team markets on Monday, Dec. 4 and Tuesday, Dec. 5) and Semifinals and Championship (played in Las Vegas on Dec. 7 and Dec. 9, respectively).  The Knockout teams will compete for a prize pool and the new In-Season Tournament trophy, the NBA Cup.   

The 67 games across both stages of the In-Season Tournament will count toward the regular-season standings except the Championship. Each team will continue to play 82 regular-season games in the 2023-24 season, including those games that are part of Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.   

Fourteen Group Play games (two games on each Tournament Night) and all seven Knockout Round games will be televised nationally. The game and broadcast schedule for the In-Season Tournament Group Play stage will be announced in August. An overview of the Group Play schedule is available here.

More details about the In-Season Tournament are below.

Group Play Draw

To determine 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.  The groups are below:

Before the drawing, each team was placed into a “pot” based on its record from the prior regular season (2022-23).  In each conference, one team from each pot was randomly selected into each of the three groups in that conference.  The pots were as follows: 

  • 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.

Knockout Rounds

In each conference, Quarterfinal games will be hosted by the two teams with the best record in Group Play games, and the team with the best record in Group Play games will host the wild card team. 

During the Knockout Rounds on days when In-Season Tournament games are not scheduled (Wednesday, Dec. 6 and Friday, Dec. 8), the 22 teams that do not qualify for the Knockout Rounds will each play two regular-season games.  The four teams that lose in the Quarterfinals will each play a regular-season game on Dec. 8. 

Prize Pool

For the 2023-24 season, the In-Season Tournament prize pool will be allocated to the players on the teams that participate in the Knockout Rounds as follows: 

  • Players on winning team of Championship:  $500,000 each
  • Players on losing team of Championship:  $200,000 each
  • Players on losing team of Semifinals:  $100,000 each
  • Players on losing team of Quarterfinals:  $50,000 each

League Honors

At the conclusion of the In-Season Tournament, the NBA will name the Most Valuable Player of the In-Season Tournament and the All-Tournament Team.  Selection will be based on the players’ performance in both Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.

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