The National Basketball League or better known as the NBA is the most dominant basketball league on the planet. This league operates in the United States where the sport first came into existence and was invented by a Canadian-American educator and physician named James Naismith.
This league came into existence on June 6, 1946 in New York City and the recently concluded 2022-23 season was its 76th iteration. The NBA consists of 30 teams out of which 29 are located in the United States and only 1 is in Canada. The most successful franchises in the league are the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers who both have won a record 17 titles each.
The NBA features some of the best players to have ever touched a basketball and the league is also the single most reason for globally popularizing the sport to the level it has reached today. All over the world more and more players from various countries have started playing the game at a much higher level and several clubs outside of the United States have started producing quality players.
The NBA consists of 30 teams which are divided into two conferences, namely, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. In order to have a fully functional regular season followed by a postseason in order to determine one Champion from so many teams, the NBA requires a properly planned schedule.
Prior to the start of the regular season, all teams will play in the preseason where they can start getting ready for the grueling months ahead. Once the preseason is over and all teams are raring to go, the long regular season gets underway as teams work their tails off in trying to reach the playoffs. The postseason possesses a different type of challenge all together but any team that wants to win the coveted NBA title has to smartly navigate their way through it.
Before the regular season winds up and teams really start pushing for a playoff berth, there is the mid-season break which features the All Star Game and other smaller events.
The NBA season is a long and tiring one for the players and coaching staff. Starting from the beginning of October is the preseason which comes to an end by the third week of the month. The regular season starts from the final week of October and runs till mid-April following which the postseason starts. The final two teams battling it out for the Championship will continue playing till the second or third week of June making it a very hectic schedule.
Starting from the 2023-24 NBA season, a newly formed in-season tournament will take place from the start of November and will continue for nearly one month. All games from this tournament except for the tournament championship game will be included as part of the regular season. The regular season for the 2023-24 season will start on October 24, 2023 as the defending champions Denver Nuggets take on last year’s Western Conference runners up Los Angeles Lakers in the first game.
The All Star break is scheduled to run from February 16 to 21 with the All Star Game to be played on February 18, 2024. Mark your calendars for the postseason as it gets underway on April 20, 2024 and will go on till the second or third week of June.
Making a schedule for 30 different teams in a league where each team has to play 82 games is not an easy task for sure. In order to make it work, there needs to be some sort of fixed process around which the nitty gritties of the schedule can revolve. Therefore, the NBA has come up with the following formula around which the entire regular season is structured.
First and foremost, before we get into the structure of the schedule, it is important to understand how the teams are divided. So, the 30 teams are mainly divided into two conferences of 15 teams each and they are known as the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. As the names suggest, the Eastern Conference consists of all the teams on the Eastern side of the country. As for the Western Conference, only about eight teams fall on the west side of the country, while the remaining seven are more or less in the middle.
The 15 teams are then further divided into three divisions of five teams each from both conferences. That means there are a total of six divisions with five teams each. The Eastern Conference is divided into the Atlantic, Central, and Southeast divisions, while the Western Conference is further classified into the Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest divisions.
As every franchise plays 82 regular season games, each team gets to play 41 games at home and 41 games on the road. Thus, the NBA schedules each team’s opponents in the following manner:
Conference and Division wise teams breakup
|Division||Eastern Conference||Division||Western Conference|
|Atlantic||Boston Celtics||Northwest||Denver Nuggets|
|Brooklyn Nets||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|New York Knicks||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Toronto Raptors||Utah Jazz|
|Central||Chicago Bulls||Pacific||Golden State Warriors|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Detroit Pistons||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Indiana Pacers||Phoenix Suns|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Sacramento Kings|
|Southeast||Atlanta Hawks||Southwest||Dallas Mavericks|
|Charlotte Hornets||Houston Rockets|
|Miami Heat||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Orlando Magic||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Washington Wizards||San Antonio Spurs|
The NBA playoffs consists of 16 of the 30 teams and features 8 from each conference. The top 6 teams from each conference get a guaranteed spot irrespective of their divisions. The final two spots are settled via a Play-In Tournament featuring the teams that finished 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th in their respective conferences. The top two teams from both conferences after the play-in tournament join the previous six teams to complete the playoff bracket.
The playoffs are all best of seven knockout rounds starting with the First Round which is played between seeds 1 and 8, 2 and 7, 3 and 6, and seeds 4 and 5 respectively. The winner moves on to the Conference Semifinals Round as only 8 teams remain. This is followed by the Conference Finals Round which features 4 teams and the NBA Finals which is between the last two teams that are still standing.
|October 3, 2023||Training Camps open|
|October 5, 2023||Preseason games begin|
|October 5 & 7, 2023||Abu Dhabi Games - Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves|
|October 10, 2023||Preseason game - Dallas Mavericks vs. Real Madrid (Madrid, Spain)|
|October 12, 2023||Canada Series - Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Detroit Pistons (Montreal, Canada)|
|October 20, 2023||Preseason ends|
|October 23, 2023||Rosters set for NBA Opening day|
|October 24, 2023||Start of the 2023-24 NBA Regular Season|
|October 28, 2023||NBA G League Draft|
|November 3, 2023||NBA In-Season Tournament begins|
|November 9, 2023||Mexico City Game - Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic (Mexico City, Mexico)|
|December 7, 2023||In-Season Tournament Semifinals (Las Vegas, NV)|
|December 9, 2023||In-Season Tournament Championship (Las Vegas, NV)|
|January 5, 2024||10-day contracts may now be signed|
|January 10, 2024||All NBA contracts are guaranteed for the remainder of the season|
|January 11, 2024||Paris Game - Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (Paris, France)|
|January 23-27, 2024||NBA Rivals Week|
|February 8, 2024||NBA Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET)|
|February 16-18, 2024||NBA All-Star 2024 (Indianapolis, IN)|
|February 16-21, 2024||NBA All-Star break|
|April 14, 2024||Regular Season ends|
|April 15, 2024||Rosters set for NBA Playoffs 2024 (3 p.m. ET)|
|April 16-19, 2024||NBA Play-In Tournament|
|April 20, 2024||Playoffs 2024 begin|
|May 6-7, 2024||Conference Semifinals begin (possible move up to May 4-5)|
|May 12, 2024||NBA Draft Lottery 2024 presented by State Farm|
|May 13-19, 2024||NBA Combine (Chicago, IL)|
|May 21-22, 2024||Conference Finals begin (possible move up to May 19-20)|
|June 6, 2024||NBA Finals 2024 Game 1|
|June 9, 2024||NBA Finals 2024 Game 2|
|June 12, 2024||NBA Finals 2024 Game 3|
|June 14, 2024||NBA Finals 2024 Game 4|
|June 17, 2024||NBA Finals 2024 Game 5 (if necessary)|
|June 20, 2024||NBA Finals 2024 Game 6 (if necessary)|
|June 23, 2024||NBA Finals 2024 Game 7 (if necessary)|
|June 27, 2024||NBA Draft 2024 presented by State Farm|
FAQs on NBA Schedule
Q. How many teams are there in the NBA?
A. The NBA has a total of 30 teams.
Q. How many conferences does the NBA have?
A. The NBA is divided into the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.
Q. What are the divisions in the NBA?
A. The NBA has six divisions, three in each conference. The Eastern conference divisions are Atlantic, Central, and Southeast. The Western conference divisions are Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest.
Q. How many games are in the NBA regular season?
A. The regular season of the NBA has 82 games for each team.
Q. What is the duration of the NBA season?
A. The NBA regular season generally runs from October to mid April followed by the postseason which ends in the second or third week of June.