Halfway to Glory: The NBA’s 2023 In-Season Tournament Unveiled

The 2023-24 NBA regular season will be more exciting than ever, as the league introduces its inaugural In-Season Tournament. The NBA’s new, innovative offering for fans tips off on November 3, 2023, and features a month-long, league-wide competition that concludes with a championship matchup at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. One team will earn the historic distinction of hoisting the NBA Cup for the very first time.

What is the NBA In-Season Tournament?

The NBA In-Season Tournament marks the first change to the league’s scheduling format since the season-expanding Play-In Tournament was implemented for potential playoff contenders during the 2020–21 season. However, the new midseason contest involves all 30 teams competing on four designated “Tournament Nights,” running concurrently with the regular season schedule in November. With the exception of the Championship game, wins and losses in the tournament will count towards each team’s overall 2023-24 regular season record.

What is the format of the NBA In-Season Tournament?

The Tournament begins with Group Play, where all 30 teams are split into six groups: three from the East and three from the West. Each team in the group plays each other once for a total of four games — two at home and two away. These games will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays in November.

Once each team completes their four Group Play matchups, the team with the best In-Season Tournament record from each of the six groups, as well as one “wild card” with the second-best tournament record from each conference, will advance to a single-elimination Knockout Round. In the event of a tie between two teams following the Group Play stage, the advancing team will be decided sequentially by their head-to-head record within the midseason tournament, point differential in the Group Play Round, total points scored in the Group Play Round, regular season record from the 2022–23 NBA season, or random drawing.

The final four teams will then head to Las Vegas to play in the Semifinals round on December 7, with the Championship game taking place on December 9.

How are NBA In-Season Tournament groups determined?

To determine the group placements for the NBA In-Season Tournament, all 30 teams were ranked within their conference by win-loss record for the 2022–23 season, then divided into five “pots” of three teams. Pot 1 consists of the top three teams and continues in descending order. Pulling from one pot at a time, each team was randomly placed into one of three groups, resulting in three groups of five per conference. The placements were formally announced on July 8.

Western Conference

West Group A

West Group B

West Group C

Eastern Conference

East Group A

East Group B

East Group C

Why Does the NBA have a midseason tournament?

The NBA In-Season Tournament aims to raise engagement and encourage more competitive play during the early, pre-All Star Break portion of the NBA season, which typically competes for sports fans’ attention with the NFL and NHL. During its official unveiling on July 8, Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN, “New traditions take time. But, all throughout sports, we are seeing new innovations, and now is the time for this NBA In-Season Tournament.”

NBA In-Season Tournament FAQs

How many rounds are in the NBA In-Season Tournament?

The NBA In-Season Tournament will feature two stages before the Championship game: a month-long Group Play Round, followed by a single-elimination Knockout Round composed of Quarterfinals and Semifinals games.

When is the NBA In-Season Tournament?

The NBA In-Season Tournament tips off on Friday, November 3. With the exception of Election Day on November 7, “Tournament Nights” will take place every Tuesday and Friday in November until the Group Play Round concludes on Thursday, November 28.

The Knockout Round will begin with a Quarterfinals stage running Monday, December 4 and Tuesday, December 5. The single-day Semifinals stage occurs on Thursday, December 7, and the Championship game follows on Saturday, December 9.

Where is the NBA In-Season Tournament taking place?

All Group Play matchups will follow regular season scheduling. Each team will face their four group opponents once, with two home games and two on the road.

During the Knockout Round, all Quarterfinals matchups will take place at the home arenas of teams with the best Group Play records. The Semifinals stage of the Knockout Round as well as Championship game will be hosted at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

How many teams will make the tournament?

All 30 teams will compete in the Group Play Round, while eight teams, consisting of the team with the best tournament record from each group and two “wild card” teams that earned the second-best tournament record within each conference, advance to the Knockout Round.

What do the winners of the In-Season Tournament receive?

The winner of the NBA In-Season Tournament’s Championship game will earn the honor to raise the newly-established NBA Cup for the first time. The NBA will also name a Most Valuable Player for the midseason contest, along with selections for a league-wide All-Tournament Team based on players’ performance in both Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.

In addition, each player on the In-Season Tournament Championship team will receive $500,000, while the runners-up will earn $200,000 each. Players on teams that lost in the Semifinals stage will win $100,000 each and Quarterfinals competitors will net $50,000 per player.

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