How many games are in the NBA season?

Brandon Ingram & Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Brandon Ingram & Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

You’ve probably heard this before, but the NBA season can be long and grueling. But just how long and grueling is it?

Well, the answer to that varies depending on how good (or bad) your team is. Despite many pushing for shortened seasons, normal NBA years (including this upcoming one) consist of an 82-game regular season. So, that means that every team is guaranteed at least 82 games.

We say “normal NBA years” because, sometimes, the season can be shortened by exigent circumstances. For instance, the 2019-20 season was only 72 games because of COVID-19, and the 2011-12 season was cut to just 66 games because of a lockout.

(Sidebar: for the first time ever, the 2023-24 NBA Regular Season will feature an In-Season Tournament that will count toward each team’s 82-game schedule.)

After the regular season, the length of each team’s season depends on the team’s success. Some middling teams end up in the Play-In Tournament. And depending on seeding in performance, that can be an additional game or two played. Our New Orleans Pelicans have been a part of the play-in tournament in each of the last two seasons.

Then there is the game’s second season, aka the NBA Playoffs. If you make the playoffs, you are guaranteed to play at least four more games. Theoretically speaking, the maximum amount of games one could play in the playoffs is 28. That would only happen, though, if you played in four straight seven-game series’ (and emerged victorious in all four of them).

If you made it through an entire normal regular season, played in both play-in games, and played the maximum number of playoff games, the most games you could play in an entire season would be 114. However, we have yet to have a situation like that come about. But then again, we’ve only had three play-in tournaments so far.

The closest a team has come to hitting that 114 games played mark is the Miami Heat. In 2022-23, they played 82 games, two play-in games, and 23 playoff games. So, in total, they played 107 games last year.

Next. 5 Pelicans most likely to be traded. dark