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NBA In-Season Tournament

By Alejandro Fernandez

The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) takes a shot against the Phoenix Suns in the first half during an NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinal at Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/TNS)

For the 2023-2024 season, the NBA implemented their first In-Season Tournament. For the tournament, each conference was divided into three different groups with five teams in each group.

First, in group play, each team played all the other teams in their group once on Tuesdays and Fridays in November. These teams were ranked based on their records, then point differential and total points to rank teams with the same records. The new incorporation of NBA In-Season Tournament has improved the NBA regular season.

The tournament made NBA regular season games more interesting. Instead of games only being played to try to make playoffs in April, the in-season tournament made the games relevant. In November, NBA teams on Tuesdays and Fridays were competing at a chance for the NBA Cup and $500,000 for each player on the winning team. All NBA teams had different courts that had different colors and the trophy throughout the middle. These games bring excitement as these games were played until the buzzer as point differential and total points were key. Due to the excitement, the NBA averaged 18,000 fans per game, the highest for November in NBA history (NBA Communications).

The NBA In-Season Tournament bracket is set. The Milwakuee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers won their groups in the East. The Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans won their groups in the West. For the final wildcard spot, the Phoenix Suns got it in West and New York Knicks got it in the East. These extra games being played for the tournament will be counted toward the regular season total of 82 games. Therefore, there is no disadvantage of playing the tournament and only the opportunity to win pride and money.


I think that the Bucks will win the tournament. On the route to the cup, they will have to beat the Knicks and the winner of the Celtics vs Pacers game. My prediction is that Bucks will beat the Celtics in the second round of the knockout and face the Sacramento Kings in the finals. On the west side the Pelicans and the Lakers are in the semis. For the East, it is the Bucks and the Pacers.

In the championship of the tournament, it will be a good game between Lakers and Bucks, but the Bucks will win with Giannis and Damian Lillard in 30-point games.


Overall, I believe that the In-Season tournament was a great idea. The tournament added value to games that have little significance at the moment for playoffs in April. It brought competitiveness and drive from the players especially those at the end of rosters that the money will make a difference. The NBA received more attention and fans had more care to watch. The NBA In-Season Tournament should continue for the years to come.

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