Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

NBA in-season tournament explained

Spurs to play first NBA in-season tournament game Friday at Frost Bank

Basketball is back with something new in store for fans. 

The NBA has introduced an in-season tournament this fall, which started on Nov. 3. With the Spurs’ first tournament game coming this Friday, here’s what you need to know to understand the format, stakes and other details better.

Group Play

The tournament consists of two stages — Group Play and Knockout Rounds. Group Play, the first stage of the competition, involves playing one game against each opponent in a team’s group. Each team will play two tournament games at home and two on the road every Tuesday and Friday from Nov. 3 to 28. Based on their records from the prior regular season (2022-23), all 30 teams were placed into a pot and randomly selected into one of three groups in their respective conferences.

 The Spurs, who finished at the bottom of the Western Conference last season, are in the West C group with the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder. 

The Spurs will play at home against the Timberwolves at 7 p.m. Friday. The next tournament game will be on the road against the Thunder at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, and TNT will broadcast the game. At 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, the Spurs will host the Kings before going on the road against the Warriors at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24. ESPN will broadcast both games.

Knockout Rounds

The best teams of the six groups in the Group Play stage will advance to the Knockout Rounds. A wild card team from each conference with the best record in the games that finished second in its group will also join them. The knockout games, which will take place from Dec. 4 to 9, will be all single elimination. 

The quarterfinals will take place on Monday, Dec. 4 and Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the home arenas of the teams with the best Group Play records. The semifinals will occur on Thursday, Dec. 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The other 22 teams who do not advance to the Knockout Rounds will play two regular-season games on Dec. 6 and 8. The tournament will end on Saturday, Dec. 9 with the championship finals at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Every game except for the championship will count toward regular-season standings. 


The tournament’s prize pool will be given to the players on teams that advance to the Knockout Rounds. Players whose team lost in the quarterfinals will receive $50,000 each, while players on teams who lost in the semifinals will receive $100,000 each. The players on the losing finals team will get $200,000 each, and the players on the team that wins the championship will gain $500,000 each.

The champions will earn the NBA Cup — a new trophy created for the in-season tournament. The NBA will also name the MVP of the tournament and an All-Tournament team.

Other things to know

Every team will have a new home court that will be used for Group Play games and the quarterfinals, implementing a bold design to indicate the game being played has tournament implications. Home teams will also wear their 2023-24 Nike NBA City Edition uniforms throughout the tournament, making their official debut. The jerseys “pay homage to the history and cultures of all 30 teams and their communities.”

Finally, the NBA premiered “The Heist,” a short film featuring seven NBA All-Stars and Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Imperioli. The film aims to celebrate the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament by contextualizing the tournament as a heist. Additional chapters will debut ahead of the Knockout Rounds, semifinals and finals, which will also feature basketball legend Magic Johnson.

For more information on the in-season tournament, visit

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Misty Olawunmi, Staff Writer

Comments (0)

The Paisano intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Paisano does not allow anonymous comments, and The Paisano requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Paisano Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *