When Did the NBA Play-In Tournament Start?

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(AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
BetMGM @BETMGM Apr 10, 2023, 10:48 AM

The NBA Play-In Tournament started in 2020, as a way to transition from the COVID NBA restart into the traditional playoff format. 

The final six weeks of the 2019-20 regular season were interrupted by the emergence of COVID-19 in North America. As a result, the NBA season was paused on March 11 and not resumed until July 30 – more than a month after the season typically ends. 

Because the season was ultimately shortened, a small Play-In tournament was implemented in order to be fair to any NBA teams who were surging late but wouldn’t get the benefit of a full 82-game season.

Thanks to the Play-In Tournament, more teams had a viable path to the NBA Playoffs.

The idea was so popular with both fans and team management that the NBA Play-In Tournament was kept for subsequent seasons and is now a regular part of the playoff qualification process for several teams in the middle of the standings.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.