For the first time ever, there will be an NBA Tournament prior to the NBA Playoffs! The NBA In-Season Tournament takes place for a little over a month, starting on Friday, with the overall winners earning the honor of being named the first-ever NBA Cup Champions! But, what is the NBA In-Season Tournament?
Below, we will take a closer look at the NBA Tournament, breaking down the rules, groups, schedule, prizes and even give you three free months of NBA League Pass to watch the tournament for free!
What is the NBA In-Season Tournament?
Let’s start simple: what is the NBA In-Season Tournament? In short, all 30 NBA teams will be playing in the in-season tournament, which begins on Friday, November 3rd. There will be specific tournament nights every week, which we will discuss further below, with the best teams earning their way to the “Knockout Rounds.”
From there, it is a single-elimination format until the last team standing is named NBA Cup Champions! The league has been wanting a way to get fans interested prior to Christmas, and this appears to be their attempt in accomplishing this, while also attempting to somehow compete with the NFL.
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When is the NBA Tournament?
Now that you know what it is, when is the NBA Tournament? The first day of Group Play will begin on Friday, Nov. 3rd. Group Play will go until Tuesday, Nov. 28, with tournament games being played on Tuesdays and Fridays. For a full schedule of these games, you can click here.
The Knockout Rounds will be played on December 4th-5th and 7th, with the NBA Cup Championship played on Saturday, Dec. 9th.
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Obviously, the three free months of NBA League Pass will cover the entire NBA In-Season Tournament, meaning you will be able to watch for free and bet along! Simply, sign up with our FanDuel Sportsbook Promo Code link and deposit at least $10 to redeem this offer today!
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NBA In-Season Tournament Schedule and Rules
The NBA In-Season Tournament schedule is already set! The first night will be this Friday, Nov. 3rd. From there, Tuesdays and Fridays will be “Tournament Nights” for Group Play, which lasts until Tuesday, Nov. 28th. The Knockout Round games will be Dec. 4th, 5th, 7th and 9th. For a full NBA In-Season Tournament schedule, click here.
There will be six groups of five teams, which we will go over below. Every team in the group plays each other once, with the top team in each group advancing to the Knockout Rounds. Additionally, the best team from each conference will make it as a Wild Card (always watch out for the wild cards). The Knockout Rounds will then be single-elimination until there is a champion.
Every game played during the NBA In-Season Tournament will count towards the 82 regular-season games, except for the NBA Cup Championship (no idea why). Teams that did not advance to the Knockout Rounds will be assigned two teams to play in the meantime, so the motto of this NBA Tournament is “win, or keep playing as usual.”
NBA Tournament Groups
Each conference has three groups of five teams. These teams were chosen based on last season’s winning percentage.
East Group A
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Atlanta Hawks
- Indiana Pacers
- Detroit Pistons
East Group B
- Milwaukee Bucks
- New York Knicks
- Miami Heat
- Washington Wizards
- Charlotte Hornets
East Group C
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
- Orlando Magic
West Group A
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Phoenix Suns
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Utah Jazz
- Portland Trail Blazers
West Group B
- Denver Nuggets
- Los Angeles Clippers
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Dallas Mavericks
- Houston Rockets
West Group C
- Sacramento Kings
- Golden State Warriors
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- San Antonio Spurs
NBA In-Season Tournament Prize
Aside from the luxurious NBA Cup, which I’m sure players have been dreaming about winning their entire lives, what are the NBA In-Season Tournament prizes? The prize, or money won, is depending on how far a player makes it in the Knockout Round of the NBA Tournament. If a team’s tournament dreams end during Group Play, there are no prizes, aside from the friend made along the way.
Here is a breakdown of the monetary prize awarded to each player if they accomplish the following:
- Lose in the quarterfinals: $50,000
- Lose in the semifinals: $100,000
- Lose in the championship: $200,000
- Win the NBA Cup: $500,000
Here’s hoping these prizes are enough to make the players care a little bit about this NBA In-Season Tournament. If we can see the competitive nature come out of these athletes and some high-intensity moments are created, this will be great for basketball overall.
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