While looking up details for tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons, you may have noticed a side note that reads “In-Season Tournament,” but what is it?
The tournament began on November 3rd and will finish on December 9th. It consists of 3 divisions in each respective conference which each contain 5 teams. Each team plays all of the other 4 teams inside of their division, 2 at home and 2 away.
The Sixers specifically will play the Pistons in Detroit on November 10th, the Pacers in Philadelphia on November 14th, the Hawks in Atlanta on November 17th, and the Cavaliers on November 21st in Philadelphia. The 4 teams with the best record in each conference after the In-Season Tournament’s 4 season games are completed move on to a single-elimination tournament.
All of these games count as regular season games, excluding the championship game.
The winner of this tournament wins the NBA Cup and each player receives a $500,000 bonus. A desirable prize for a bench player, but not for a star like Joel Embiid.
If a team like the Sixers makes the championship, why would a player with a big contract such as Embiid risk an injury for a game that doesn’t count? An interesting idea that the NBA will have to look into for future tournaments.