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The NBA is back.

Let that sink in.

On July 31st, the NBA will return to action, after several months of no basketball (and no sports as a whole) due to COVID-19. But that’ll soon end, and I know basketball fans around the world are ecstatic about its return.

But due to the league suspending its play for a little over 3 months, the NBA will implement a 22 team format to end the season, and to head into the playoffs.

If you’re confused about what that means, and how that affects the league, here’s what it means:

  • The NBA is inviting 22 teams to Orlando: 13 Western Conference teams and 9 Eastern Conference teams. The current 16 playoff teams, New Orleans, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Antonio from the West and Washington from the East will all resume play.
  • Each team will play eight regular-season games to determine the seeding for the playoffs. For the 8th seed though, it’s a little different:
    • If the 9th seed is 4 or more games back behind the 8th seed, the 8th seed will make the playoffs, but if the margin is within 4 games, there will be a play-in tournament to determine who gets in.
    • The play-in format requires a double-elimination format for the 8th seed and a single-elimination format for the 9th seed.

The start date would be July 31st, and the end date, if there is a Game 7 of the NBA Finals, would occur on October 12th.


Image: USA Today