NBA In-Season Tournament: Rules, format and what it means for the Pistons

In April of this year, NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged the possibility of setting up a regular season tournament for the next NBA season. While specific details weren’t finalized at the time, that changed over the weekend.

On Saturday, the league officially announced the NBA In-Season tournament, which all 30 NBA teams will participate in. The inaugural tournament will begin on Friday, November 3 and will take place in each NBA team’s respective markets. The tournament will conclude with the semi-finals on Thursday, December 7 and the championship on Saturday, December 9, both held at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“We are excited to present the NBA In-Season Tournament as an opportunity to further improve and innovate around our season structure,” said Joe Dumars, NBA executive vice president, chief basketball operations officer. ball. “With the addition of this new flagship event to the NBA schedule, we are focused on giving players and teams another competition to win, engaging fans in a different way and generating more interest. for the first part of the regular season schedule.”

How does the new tournament work?

All 67 games from both stages of the in-season tournament will count towards regular season standings, excluding the championship game. Each team will continue to play their regular 82-game schedule in the 2023-24 season, including group matches and knockout matches.

Fourteen group matches (two matches each tournament night) and the seven knockout matches will be nationally televised. The schedule for the group play phase will be announced in August.

From Group Play, the 30 NBA teams were randomly assigned into groups of five within their respective conference, based on their winning and losing records from the previous season. Each team will play four designated group games, playing each team in their group once, with two home games and two away games. These games will take place on designated “tournament nights” every Tuesday and Friday from November 3 through November 28, with the exception of Election Day, November 7, when no games will be played. Only group matches will be scheduled on these tournament nights.

Eight teams will qualify for the round of 16. This includes the team with the highest ranking in group play from each of the six groups and two “wild card” teams (the second best record in group play from each conference). The Round of 16 will feature knockout matches in the quarterfinals, which will be played in the NBA teams’ respective markets on December 4 and 5. The semi-finals and the championship will take place in Las Vegas on December 7 and 9, respectively. Teams participating in the Round of 16 will compete for a prize pool and the new in-season tournament trophy, the NBA Cup.

The prize pool will be awarded to players from teams taking part in the playoffs. The NBA Cup winning team will receive $500,000 per player, while the losing Final Round team will receive $200,000 per player. Players from the losing team in the semi-finals will receive $100,000 and players from the losing team in the quarter-finals will receive $50,000.

What does this mean for the Pistons?

As mentioned, the NBA determined each team’s opponents in group play via a coin toss, where each conference’s 15 teams were divided into three groups of five teams. Prior to the draw, each team was placed in a “pot” based on their record from the previous regular season (2022-23) according to the official statement. In each conference, one team from each pot was randomly selected from each of the three pools in that conference.

The pots were as follows:

  • Saucepan 1: The teams with the three best records from the previous season in a conference.
  • Saucepan 2: The teams with the fourth to sixth best records from the previous season.
  • Jar 3: Teams with the seventh through ninth best records from the previous season.
  • Pan 4: Teams with the 10th to 12th best records from the previous season.
  • Jar 5: Teams with the 13th to 15th best records from the previous season.

The Pistons will be in Group A East along with the Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks. East Group B is made up of the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets. East Group C is made up of the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors.

For the Western Conference, Pool A is made up of the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers. West Group B will include the defending champions Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. And finally, Group C West will include the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings.

Although the schedule has yet to be released, the NBA has provided a preview of the matchups which have the Pistons’ two road games against the Cavaliers and Pacers respectively. Then they will have two home games against the Sixers and the Hawks.

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