NBA Sets Structure and Format for 2020-21 Season

The 2020-21 NBA season will tip off next month, and it will be a little different than what fans have seen in the past. On Wednesday, the league set the structure and the format for the upcoming season, which will include a Play-In Tournament to determine the teams that will claim the seventh and eighth playoff spot in each conference. The season will start on Tuesday, Dec. 22, and each team will play 72 games.

All 30 teams will play three games against each intraconference team, with the pairing of either two home games and one road game or one home game and two road games. Additionally, all five teams from within the division will play all five teams from one other intraconference division twice at home, and all five times from the remaining intraconference division twice on the road. As for the interconference games, each team will play two games against an interconference opponent, once at home and once away.

The regular-season schedule will be released in two parts. The first half of the schedule will be released once training camp begins. The second half of the schedule will be released during the latter part of the first half of the year. The All-Star break will take place March 5-10, 2021 between the first half and the second half of the season.

The NBA also broke down how the season will go. The preseason will begin on Dec. 11 and will end on the 19th. The second half of the regular season will start on March 11 and will end on May 16. The Play-In Tournament will be held from May 18-21, and the playoffs will be from May 22-July 22.

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It looks like the NBA was able to get this done in the nick of time. Earlier this month, league commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA is "running out of time," and Michele Roberts, the NBA executive director, echoed those sentiments.

"Given all that has to be resolved between now and a Dec. 22 date, factoring that there will be financial risks by a later start date, it defies common sense that it can all be done in time," Roberts told The Athletic as reported by CBS Sports. "Our players deserve the right to have some runway so that they can plan for a start that soon. The overwhelming response from the players that I have received to this proposal has been negative."