The inaugural NBA in-season tournament begins tonight, but many fans are still confused about what the in-season tournament is and why it is taking place. Luckily for the fans, I have all the answers.
Well, before I give all the answers, let’s let Nets legend Richard Jefferson explain how the tournament works. ESPN also has a lot of answers.
Why is the NBA in-season tournament happening?
Quite simply, The NBA is looking for new ways to connect with fans and looking for new ways to make regular-season basketball meaningful. ESPN NBA insider Tim Bontemps says the tournament’s purpose is to make money and generate eyeballs for November and December basketball.
"“The first hope, obviously, is that it generates revenue. The NBA believes the in-season tournament can become a significant moneymaking franchise over time…..The stretch of time the tournament is set within — from the start of November through the first week of December — might be the most irrelevant part of the NBA schedule. It’s after the initial rush of the season starting, and alongside the college football and NFL regular seasons. If this tournament can bring more attention to the sport during its least relevant time of the year, it will be seen as a victory.”"
What is the tournament’s format?
The NBA’s in-season tournament is a spoof on European soccer cups. The main difference between those cups and this tournament is that all tournament games count towards the regular season standings.
The NBA broke each Conference into three groups (five teams per group) using a formula based on last season’s standings.
Every team will play every other team in their group (considered pool-play), and the team that wins each group will move on to the knockout round, as will two wild card teams, the team with the best-remaining record in the East and the West.
The eight teams that make it to the knockout round will play a single-elimination tournament, with the semifinals and finals in Las Vegas.
The 22 teams who don’t make the knockout stage will have two games scheduled by the league, one at home and one on the road, to ensure every NBA team plays 82 games this season.
When will games take place?
The group stage games will occur over seven days this month, three Tuesdays, November 14, 21, and 28, and four Fridays, November 3, 10, 17, and 24.
The Quarterfinals will be on December 4th and 5th, while the semifinals and championship will be on December 7th and 9th.
The games to be scheduled later between teams who don’t advance to the knockout stage will occur on December 6th and 8th.
On December 7th, the East and West teams that lost in the quarterfinals will square off against each other.
Other important things to note
The only game that does not count toward the regular season standings is the championship game.
Players on the championship-winning team will each get $500,000, $200,000 for the runners-up, $100,000 for players who lose in the semifinal, and $50,000 for players who lose in the quarterfinals.
The championship-winning team will win the “NBA Cup” trophy.
The Nets group
Brooklyn is in East Group C with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic.