The National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs are a highly anticipated event in the world of sports. The playoffs determine the league's champion and are the culmination of a grueling regular season. But how many teams actually make it to this prestigious tournament? Let's delve into the details.
Total Number of Teams in the NBA Playoffs
In total, 16 teams make it to the NBA playoffs. These teams are evenly split between the two conferences of the NBA - the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each conference sends eight teams to the playoffs, creating an exciting mix of talent and competition.
Selection Process for the NBA Playoffs
The selection process for the NBA playoffs is based on the regular season records of the teams. The top six teams from each conference, ranked by their winning percentage, automatically advance to the playoffs. These teams are seeded No. 1 through No. 6.
However, the playoffs aren't just limited to these twelve teams. There are four additional spots up for grabs in the playoffs. These spots are determined through the NBA play-in tournament, which features teams ranked seventh through tenth in each conference. The teams with the ninth-highest and 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference have to win two consecutive games to earn a playoff spot.
The NBA Play-In Tournament
The NBA play-in tournament is a recent addition to the NBA postseason. It was introduced to add more excitement to the playoff race and give more teams a chance to compete for the championship. In this tournament, the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference are decided. The seventh- and eighth-placed teams play each other, with the winner securing the seventh seed. Meanwhile, the ninth- and tenth-placed teams also face off. The winner of this game then plays the loser of the seven-eight game to determine who earns the eighth playoff seed.
Home-Court Advantage in the NBA Playoffs
Once the 16 teams have been decided, the playoffs begin. The teams with the better regular-season record win home-court advantage, following a 2-2-1-1-1 home/away format. This means that the teams with the higher seed will play Games 1, 2, 5, and 7 at home in each round.
A Brief History of the NBA Playoffs
The NBA playoffs have evolved significantly since their inception. The playoffs were instituted in 1947 with a three-stage tournament. The NBA moved to a 16-team playoff in 1984. In 2003, the first round was changed to best of 7. All series are scheduled as a 2-2-1-1-1 home/away pattern except for the Finals from 1985 to 2013, which were 2-3-2.