The NBA is all about the postseason and winning a championship. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t have super-teams and/or superstar trade demands every year. The NBA regular season is diminishing in importance – but that doesn’t mean it’s not important at all.
Though it hasn’t seemed as critical of late, playoff seeding and homecourt advantage is still important – just ask the 2023 NBA Champion Denver Nuggets, who won the most games in the Western Conference’s regular season to finish as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
It may be fading, but the league’s regular season still holds importance.
How many games are in the NBA regular season?
Each team plays 82 regular-season games, 41 at home and 41 away, that span from October to April.
As the league expanded, the number of games went from 48 in 1947-48 to 60 the following year. It eventually jumped to 72 games in 1953-54 and the now-82 game schedule in 1967-68.
Notable exceptions include: the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season (50 games), the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season (66 games) and the 2019-20 season that was affected by the Coronavirus pandemic (teams played a varying total of games).
The 2020-21 season was shortened to 72 games because of the shortened offseason following the pandemic season.
For the first time in league history, the NBA will host an in-season tournament in ’23-24. Similar to in-season tournaments in European soccer, there will be a group stage in which each team plays four regular-season contests that count as tournament play.
There will then be knockout rounds for the final 16 teams, culminating in a final four being played in Las Vegas Dec. 7 and 9.