The 2023-24 NBA season will feature the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament. For the tournament, teams will be placed in group for each conference with eight teams advancing to the Finals in Las Vegas.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, as the result of what the NBA says was a World Cup style draw, are in Eastern Conference Group A along with the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons.
The full groups are as follows:
Group 1: Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons
Group play, the league announced on Saturday, will take place over seven dates in November with each team playing the other team in the group once. The dates this year are Nov. 3, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24 and 28. Three of those dates fall on a Tuesday; four fall on a Friday.
From there, the winner of each group advances to the finals of the tournament, as do the highest-ranked team from each conference that didn’t win their group.
Quarterfinal games will be played Monday, Dec. 4, and Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the higher-seeded teams with the winners advancing to play in the semifinals Thursday, Dec. 7, at T-Mobile Arena. The championship is then scheduled Saturday, Dec. 9. The final, per the NBA, will be a East vs. West matchup, as teams will only play opponents from their own conference until the NBA Finals.
Also worth remembering: group games count towards the 82 game win total.
What this looks like is unclear. It could be really fun! It could be a dud if players decide they don’t care about it for whatever reason. Teams who do make the quarterfinals do get extra money, but for the best players in the league making millions and millions of dollars, does that matter? We’ll see.
As for the opponents, this is an interesting mix for the Cavs. The 76ers, at least for now, are good, but open to change with the James Harden situation still unfolding. The Hawks are good, but were a step below the Cavs last year. The Pacers should be better, but are young. The Pistons are just getting started, but have a proven coach in Monty Williams and a lot of interesting young talent. If this is going to be a thing, this group ast least offers some intrigue.