The 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament: What You need to Know

The NBA Play-In Tournament is set to return in April, with eight teams vying for a spot in the playoffs. This exciting new format was first introduced in 2021 to give more teams a chance to compete for the championship and keep fans engaged in the final weeks of the regular season. The two tournaments that have been held have proven the idea to be on-point, having generated huge hype and buzz.

This season’s regular season is almost over, so the play-in tournament is just around the corner. The NBA has already confirmed that the 2023 tournament will take place from April 11th to 14th. If you are not familiar with the new post-season format but want to enjoy the high-stakes matches, we’ll take you through everything you need to know.

What is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

The NBA Play-In Tournament is a new stage of the NBA season that technically expands the final two spots of the playoffs to give an extra two teams a chance at the elimination stages. It features four teams from each conference, with the seventh through tenth-placed teams in the regular season competing for the final two playoff spots in each conference.

The Play-In tournament acts as the bridge between the regular season and the playoffs, with the latter set to start on April 15th and end on June 18th. The Milwaukee Bucks are currently the favorites, according to NBA playoff odds.

The NBA Play-In Tournament Format & Structure

The NBA Play-In tournament usually features eight teams. These are the 7th-placed to the 10th-placed teams in both the eastern and western conferences. The four teams on each side will then compete for the two available playoff spots.

To proceed, the 7th-placed and 8th-placed teams in each conference will only be required to win 1 out of a possible two games. On the other hand, the 9th-placed and 10th-placed teams have to win two out of two to qualify.

The 7th-placed team will face the 8th-placed team in its conference, with the winner earning the 7th seed and advancing to the playoffs. The 9th-placed and 10th-placed teams will also go head to head, with the loser being knocked out.

The loser in the 7/8 game will then face off with the winner of the 9/10 match. The winner in this match is then awarded the 8th and final playoff spot.

To know the teams taking part this year, you can check out’s Playoff Picture, which displays the current tournament field as of the current standings and if the Play-In started today.

What’s Next After the tournament?

After the play-in tournament, the NBA playoffs will start the following day. The playoffs consist of 16 teams from both conferences, seeded from 1st to 8th based on their regular-season records. In this stage, the top seed will play the eighth seed from the same conference, the second seed will play the seventh seed, and so on.

The playoffs are conducted in a best-of-seven series format, which means that the first team to win four games advances to the next round. The first round is known as the Conference Quarterfinals, and it’s followed by the Conference Semifinals, the Conference Finals, and eventually the NBA Finals, which is the fourth and final round.

The playoffs usually last for two months, with the NBA Finals taking place in June. The team that wins four of the seven matches in the NBA Finals is crowned that year’s NBA champion. 

The playoffs are known for their intense and high-stakes games, and this year’s edition is set to follow suit as the best teams in the league compete for the championship title.

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