NBA In-Season Tournament Pots: Look at Team Groupings

Explore how NBA teams are grouped into pots for the In-Season Tournament. Learn about the divisions, team strengths, and the element of randomness in forming competitive groups

The NBA In-Season Tournament is a breath of fresh air in the world of basketball, injecting excitement into the regular season. One of the most intriguing aspects of this tournament is how teams are grouped together. In this article, you can take a deep dive into the intricacies of the NBA In-Season Tournament group formation process. You’ll explore how teams are divided into pots, discuss the significance of these pots, and shed light on the random drawing that determines the groups.

Also Read: NBA In-Season tournament Ticket Price

The Pots System: Creating Fair Play

Before the excitement of the NBA In-Season Tournament’s group stage begins, a meticulous process unfolds. Teams are placed into pots based on their performance in the prior regular season. The 2022-23 season records serve as the benchmark, and this system is designed to ensure a fair and balanced distribution of teams across the groups.

Pot 1: The Elite Tier

Pot 1 is where the best-of-the-best teams reside. These are the ones that finished in the top three of their conference in the previous season. Think of them as the cream of the crop, featuring powerhouse teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets.

Pot 2: Strong Contenders

Pot 2 accommodates teams that performed admirably but didn’t quite reach the summit. These are the teams that finished between fourth and sixth in their respective conferences during the previous season. Teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns can be found in this pot.

Pot 3: The Middle Ground

Pot 3 is home to teams that held a middle-of-the-road position in the previous season, securing seventh to ninth place in their conference. Here, you’ll encounter squads like the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Pot 4: Battling for Progress

Pot 4 houses teams that occupied the tenth to twelfth positions in their conference in the previous season. They are striving to climb higher in the ranks. Teams such as the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder fall into this pot.

Pot 5: Seeking Redemption

Teams that had a tough time in the previous season, finishing thirteenth to fifteenth in their conference, find themselves in Pot 5. These teams are eager to make a comeback, with examples like the Orlando Magic and the Portland Trail Blazers among them.

Also Read: NBA In Season Tournament Jerseys


The Random Drawing: A Dash of Excitement

Once the teams are comfortably placed in their respective pots, it’s time for a bit of randomness. The NBA ensures fairness by conducting a random drawing, which plays a crucial role in shaping the groups.

Creating the Groups

The random drawing is where the anticipation and excitement build up. One team from each pot is randomly selected to form a group. Pot 1, with its top-tier teams, sets the foundation for each group. Teams from Pots 2, 3, 4, and 5 are then drawn to complete the group, ensuring a diverse mix of strengths.

For instance, if the Milwaukee Bucks are drawn from Pot 1, they become the focal point of the group. Subsequently, teams from Pots 2 through 5 join in to round out the group composition. This approach guarantees that each group comprises teams of varying competitiveness.

Eastern Conference

East Group AEast Group BEast Group C
Philadelphia 76ersMilwaukee BucksBoston Celtics
Cleveland CavaliersNew York KnicksOrlando Magic
Atlanta HawksMiami HeatChicago Bulls
Indiana PacersWashington WizardsBrooklyn Nets
Detroit PistonsCharlotte HornetsToronto Raptors

Also Read: NBA In-Season Tournament Groups

Western Conference

West Group AWest Group BWest Group C
Memphis GrizzliesDenver NuggetsGolden State Warriors
Phoenix SunsLA ClippersLos Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles LakersNew Orleans PelicansMinnesota Timberwolves
Utah JazzDallas MavericksOklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail BlazersHouston RocketsSan Antonio Spurs

Ensuring Fair Competition

The essence of the random drawing lies in maintaining fair competition. By introducing an element of chance, the NBA ensures that no team gets a cakewalk. While some groups may turn out tougher than others, this unpredictability adds an extra layer of excitement to the tournament. It’s a blend of luck and strategy that keeps fans engaged throughout the season.


The process of forming groups for the NBA In-Season Tournament is a testament to the league’s commitment to fairness and the thrill of the game. Teams are thoughtfully placed into pots based on their prior season’s performance, and the subsequent random drawing ensures that every group features a mix of formidable and underdog teams.

This approach adds an element of unpredictability and excitement to the tournament, making each season a fresh adventure for basketball enthusiasts. As the NBA continues to evolve, the group formation process remains a captivating aspect of the journey, shaping the narrative of the In-Season Tournament and keeping fans eagerly anticipating the group assignments each season.

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