WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: A view of the game ball on the court during overtime of the game between the Washington Wizards and the Miami Heat at Capital One Arena on November 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)(Scott Taetsch)

Washington Wizards: First NBA In-Season Tournament Explained

One new thing basketball fans can look forward to in the 2023-24 season is the first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament. This is something that's been widely discussed amongst fans for years, and now hoops heads finally get to see it come to fruition. Here's how it works and how it affects the Washington Wizards.


The first thing to know about the NBA In-Season Tournament is that it will start with Group Play. This is the first stage in many tournament styles across sports, most commonly seen in soccer.

The Western Conference and Eastern Conference will each be split up into three respective groups. Those groups were drawn at random based on their regular-season record in the 2022-23 season. The Wizards were drawn into East Group B alongside the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets.

In Group Play, each team within their respective group will face each other one time (four total games). Two games will be on the road and two games will be at home. These games will start on November 3 and will be played on Tuesdays and Fridays in November.



Led by 2x MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks have been one of the top teams in the NBA over the last half-decade. In those five seasons, they made Eastern Conference Finals twice and took home one NBA Championship. The Bucks are a consistent force to be reckoned with and that likely won't change in the 2023-24 season.

Key Offseason Moves:

  • Traded for the No. 36 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Andre Jackson Jr.
  • Signed Malik Beasley
  • Re-signed Khris Middleton
  • Re-signed Brook Lopez


Going 47-35 and making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the New York Knicks are coming off their best season since 2012-13 when Carmelo Anthony donned the blue and orange. Led by Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, the Knicks are one of the up-and-coming teams in the Eastern Conference looking to build on their success from last season.

Key Offseason Moves:

  • Re-signed Josh Hart
  • Signed Donte DiVincenzo
  • Traded Obi Toppin for draft consideration


Led by the dynamic duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Miami Heat have been one of the top teams in the NBA for the last four seasons, making it to the NBA Finals twice. This season, nothing has changed as far as expectations go. The Heat are still expected to be one of the top teams in the conference and are looking to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the title.

Key Offseason Moves:

  • Re-signed Kevin Love


The Hornets are one of the younger teams in the Eastern Conference. Their young, star point guard LaMelo Ball has loads of talent and potential but struggled last season with injuries. He only played in 36 games, but he put up 23.3 points, 8.4 assists and 6.4 rebounds per contest. If he's healthy, they can be a dangerous team on any given night.

Key Offseason Moves:

  • Drafted Brandon Miller with the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft
  • Drafted Nick Smith Jr. with the No. 27 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft
  • Re-signed Miles Bridges
  • Signed Frank Ntilikina


After Group Play, the team with the best record from each group (along with one wild card team from each conference) will move on to the Knockout Rounds. The Knockout Rounds are simple. They're a single-elimination, bracket-style tournament. Picture the March Madness Elite Eight.

Once the tournament is down to the final four teams, those teams will compete in Las Vegas on December 7 for the semifinals and December 9 for the finals. That night, the first-ever NBA Cup will be handed to the last team standing.