The NBA season is one giant cycle, starting and ending at the same place. When regular season games begin, usually sometime in October, the season is considered to be underway. However, there is a lot that comes before and after that. The NBA Finals are in June, and after this free agency starts. When free agency ends, training camp begins and training camps will start to occur. After training camps begin, there is the preseason, and before you know it, we're right back where we started.
After the summer break, teams start training camps. Training camps are actually very beneficial for the coaches, not just the players. The training camps allow coaches to evaluate new players and the strengths and weaknesses of the team. This is the time where players start to train and earn a spot on the regular season roster. After training concludes, preseason games are held.
The NBA preseason is a time for players to get back into game shape, and for coaches to finalize what their teams will look like come regular season. Rookies and unproven players will get a chance to show what they can do. There is a maximum of 8 preseason games, and when these are finished, we head into the regular season.
Each team plays 82 games, 41 are home and 41 are away. Each team is categorized by conference and division. There is a formula to create the schedule, as shown here:
One day to look out is Christmas Day, which usually has around 6 NBA games where schedule makers find marquee matchups good for TV. This can be storied rivalries, Finals rematches, and up and coming teams. The All Star event also draws a lot of attention. It happens in February, where special events like the Dunk Contest and the Three Point Contest take place, as well as the annual All Star Game.
The NBA Playoffs begin towards the end of April when the top eight teams from each conference compete for the NBA title. The playoffs are an intense end to the season, where only 1 team can celebrate at the end. Every team in the NBA has the same goal, win the championship.
Each conference is seeded 1 through 8, seeds are awarded based on regular season standings. The top seed in each conference get the 8 seed, and so on:
The playoffs follow a tournament format, with the winning team moving on in the bracket. Each round is a 7 game series, meaning, the first team to win 4 games advances to the next round. In each of the following rounds, winners advance until only 1 team from each conference remains. The last series between the 2 remaining teams is called the NBA Finals, and the winner gets all the glory and a place in the history books.