The NBA today declared the structure and format for the 2020-21 season, which will remember a Play-For Tournament to decide the teams that will fill the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in every conference.
The NBA’s 75th regular season will start on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and feature 72 games for each team. The rival breakdown for the regular season is accessible here and depicted below:
Each team will play three games against each intraconference rival (42 complete games for every team), with each pairing including either two home games and one street game or one home game and two street games. Within each team’s division, the league office has arbitrarily doled out which two rivals will be played twice at home and which two adversaries will be played twice on the road.
• All five teams from within a division will play every one of the five teams from one other intraconference division twice at home, and each of the five teams from the leftover intraconference division twice on the road.
• Each team will play two games against each interconference rival (30 total games for every team), with each pairing including one home game and one street game.
• The 2020-21 regular-season schedule will be released in two segments. The schedule for the First Half of the season will be released around the beginning of training camp. The schedule for the Second Half of the season will be released during the last part of the First Half portion of the schedule. The Second Half schedule will incorporate the rest of each team’s 72 games not planned for the First Half just as any games deferred during the First Half that can reasonably be added to the Second Half schedule.
The All-Star break is planned to happen March 5-10, 2021, between the First Half and Second Half of the regular season.
Prior today, the NBA Board of Governors collectively endorsed a proposition to execute a season finisher Play-In Tournament on a one-year reason for the 2020-21 season. The Play-In Tournament, which will occur after the regular season and before the first round of the playoffs, will incorporate the groups with the seventh-highest through the 10th highest winning percentages in each conference.
The teams with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest winning percentages in every conference will each have two opportunities to win one match to procure a playoff spot. The teams with the ninth-highest and tenth-highest winning percentages in every conference will each need to win two sequential matches to procure a playoff spot.
At the finish of the regular season, the team with the seventh-highest winning percentage in every conference will host the team with the eighth-highest winning percentage in its conference in a Play-In Game (the “Seven-Eight Game”). The champ of the Seven-Eight Game in every conference will be the seventh seed in the playoffs for its conference.
The group with the ninth-highest winning percentage in every conference will have the team with the 10th highest winning percentage in its conference in a Play-In Game (the “Nine-Ten Game”). The loser of the Seven-Eight Game will host the victor of the Nine-Ten Game in a Play-In Game, and the champ of that game will be the eighth seed in the playoffs for its conference.
Below is the tentative schedule calendar for the 2020-21 season:
• Dec. 11-19, 2020: Preseason games
• Dec. 22, 2020 – March 4, 2021: First Half of regular season
• March 5-10, 2021: All-Star break
• March 11 – May 16, 2021: Second Half of regular season
• May 18-21, 2021: Play-In Tournament
• May 22 – July 22, 2021: 2021 NBA Playoffs