NBA 101: Breaking Down How Many Teams Make The NBA Playoffs

How Many Teams Make The NBA Playoffs in addition to the Suns, Kings, Cav and 76ers

Many sports fans this time of the year are probably asking themselves, “How many teams make the NBA playoffs?” being unfamiliar with the relatively new playoff format that governs the league. From 1984 to 2019 the NBA playoffs field was set at 16 teams, with 8 teams from each conference making the postseason.

The NBA’s playoff consistency was in direct contrast to the NFL, MLB, and NHL, which went through significant changes in the postseason during these years. However, since the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the NBA playoffs have been expanded to include a play-in tournament.

How many teams make the NBA Playoffs each year?

Jamal Murray, Niokla Jokic, Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics playoff teams

The official answer to the question, “How many teams make the NBA Playoffs?” is 20, 10 from each conference. The top 6 seeds of each conference get a bye, with the remaining teams competing in the recently created NBA play-in tournament.

The play-in tournament requires the 7 and 8 seeds to play each other, and the 9 and 10 seeds to play each other. The winner of the 7 vs. 8 game becomes the #7 seed in the 1st round of the playoffs, while the loser of the 9 vs. 10 game is eliminated.

The loser of the 7 vs. 8 game and the winner of the 9 vs. 10 game play each other, with the winner being awarded the #8 seed in the 1st round of the playoffs, and the loser being eliminated.

The NBA playoffs standings or series records do not carry over into future rounds. Once a team wins a series, they must win 4 games against another team in the next series.

How many teams can make the NBA Playoffs?

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Ja Morant and Desmond Bane of the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies playoff teams

As long as a franchise finishes with one of the 10 best records in the NBA standings in their respective conference, they will make the postseason. Because playoff teams are separated by conference, a team in a certain conference can be eliminated from playoff contention, despite having a better record than another team that makes the playoffs in the opposing conference.

Some old-school NBA fans, analysts, and contributors are unhappy with how many teams make the NBA playoffs. They view the NBA playoffs bracket as over-inflated, with far too many teams making the postseason. With over 60% of franchises making the playoffs, the NBA has by far the highest number of playoff teams among the 4 major sports leagues.

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How many Games in NBA Playoffs?

While how many teams make the NBA playoffs is often the focus of discussion among sports fans, the number of games is often noted as well. After the play-in tournament, each team is matched up against another in a series.

Every series from the 1st round to the championship round is 7 games, meaning that a team must win 4 games against another to win the series. As a result, the NBA playoffs always have plenty of games, often in the range of 90 to 100 total games depending on the year.

How many Games in NBA Playoffs Round 1

The 1st round of the NBA Playoffs features 8 different series matchups, 4 in each conference. The minimum number of games for the 1st round would be 32 games if each series was a sweep. However, most 1st rounds will typically range from 45 to 50 total games.

NBA Playoff Schedule

One major difference between the NBA postseason and the regular season is the number of days off between games. While the NBA regular season routinely has back-to-back games, the NBA postseason always gives teams at least 1 full day off, and many times 2 full days off between games. How many teams make the NBA playoffs does not affect this schedule, as the league has nearly always made it a priority for teams to get more days off in the postseason.

This NBA playoff schedule provides the best playing field for teams, allowing them plenty of time and rest to match up against their opponents. How many NBA teams make the playoffs does not affect the playoff schedule, as even the expanded postseason with play-in rounds has plenty of days off between games.

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So, how many teams make it to the NBA playoffs?

The NBA postseason is one of the most highly anticipated sporting tournaments in the United States. Because of its recent expansion, many sports fans have been asking, “How many teams make the NBA playoffs?”, trying to understand the new play-in format. The new format allows 20 total teams to make the postseason, expanding an already competitive NBA landscape.