Fans and players were skeptical of the idea of an “in-season tournament” when it was announced to be a part of the new collective bargaining agreement. Saturday, the NBA officially revealed the details and groupings for the inaugural In-Season Tournament next season.
The San Antonio Spurs were placed in Group C in the Western Conference, which consists of the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder. For the tournament, all 30 teams are separated into six groups of 5. The teams are placed based on a semi-random drawing, that accounts for team records from the previous season.
Group play games will be played on Tuesday and Friday nights from November 3rd to 28th. Over the course of the month, each team will play the other teams in their group once. These games will count towards their total regular season record, and determine who moves on to the knockout rounds.
The winner of each group, as well as two “wild card” (non-group winning teams from both conferences who have the best record in group play,) will move onto a single elimination tournament. The knockout rounds or “quarterfinals” will take place on December 4-5. The four teams that lose in the Quarterfinals will each play a regular-season game on December 8, against the opponent in their same conference.
The final four teams standing will head to Las Vegas for the semi-finals and championship, with the winner taking home the first ever NBA Cup. Players will be compensated financially for moving on in the tournament. There will be an In-Season Tournament MVP, as well as an all-tournament team.
NBA IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT EXPLAINED— NBA (@NBA) July 8, 2023
Starting Nov. 3, all 30 teams will compete for the NBA Cup with 8 teams advancing into the knockout rounds! The tournament semis and championship game will be held in Las Vegas, Dec. 7 and 9! pic.twitter.com/NZdURUa3XR
The Spurs find themselves in one of the tougher groupings. All four teams in San Antonio’s group made the playoffs or play-in last season. It’s the only group in the tournament that features four playoff teams. The Thunder, Warriors and Kings are all teams that are adding new impact players, and could be better next season.
Victor Wembanyama was a part of the group that took the stage at NBA Con to reveal the new tournament’s details as well as the championship trophy. Wembanyama will look to lead this young Spurs squad on a deep run in the inaugural tournament this fall.