• December 9, 2023

How does the NBA play-in tournament work? Dates, projections and rules explained

What is at stake for the NBA Play-In Tournament when the teams enter the final week of the regular season?

For the Los Angeles LakersThe defending champions may have to begin their search for a replay in the play-in tournament while they wait Lebron James return to full health. Meanwhile it is Charlotte Hornets hope they can return to the postseason for the first time since 2016. The teams that try to avoid the warm-up tournament are given additional rest and time to prepare for their opponent in the first round.

The play-in adds an intriguing crease to the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason. The teams were already less motivated to play tank games on the track because the flattened lottery probabilities introduced in 2019. Now that the

How does the NBA play-in tournament work?


When does the NBA play-in tournament take place?


Which teams are likely to win the NBA play-in tournament?

tktkt “> Top 10 teams in the overall ranking will end the regular season with at least one chance at the playoffs, more franchises stay in the mix longer. Some people, like LeBron and Dallas Mavericks All-star Luka Doncicare less than enthusiastic the prospect of the play-in tournament, but we should expect some heated competition as the teams try to make it into the play-in battle – or beyond.

Everything you need to know about this season’s play-in setup is here, including the most likely matchups as per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI), when and where it happens, and how it works.

When does the NBA play-in tournament take place?

The last day of the NBA regular season is scheduled for May 16. Play-in starts on May 18th and ends on May 21st. The first round of the NBA playoffs begins May 22nd.

How does the NBA play-in tournament work?



Scoop Jackson breaks the new rules for the NBA play-in tournament.

As part of the play-in tournament, a total of six games will be played with eight teams, which are divided between the two conferences.

The teams that finish numbers 1-6 in each conference are guaranteed play-off places, while teams number 7-10 in the overall standings are included in the play-in. Any team that does worse than # 10 will take part in the lottery. With the teams having the chance to finish with an odd number of games due to COVID-19 complications, the NBA uses the win percentage to determine the leaderboard.

This is how the games work:

  • Game 1: Team no. 7 in the overall ranking according to the percentage of winnings receives team no. 8, with the winner being awarded 7th place in the playoffs. The losing team gets another chance in game 3.

  • Game 2: Team # 9 will host team # 10, with the winner moving on to game 3. The loser is eliminated and enters the NBA draft lottery.

  • Game 3: The loser of matchup no. 7 against no. 8 will match the winner of matchup no. 9 against no. 10, whereby the winner will get seed no. 8 in the postseason. The loser of game 3 also takes part in the lottery.

This means that the teams with the seventh highest and the eighth highest win share have two ways to win a game to secure a playoff spot, while the teams with the ninth highest and the tenth highest win share must win two games in a row.

How important is seeding within the play-in race?

Which teams are likely to win the NBA play-in tournament?

If the season ended today, the matchups would be:

Western Conference

Eastern Conference

MORE: Current NBA rankings

And here are the most likely attendees of any conference on projections with BPI taking into account the injuries, the strength of the schedule, and the impact each rotation player has on the field of play.

Most likely West Game 1 (No. 7 versus No. 8)

Most likely West Game 2 (No. 9 vs. No. 10)

Most likely East Game 1 (No. 7 versus No. 8)

Most likely East Game 2 (No. 9 vs. No. 10)

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