How Many Teams Make The NBA Playoffs 2023?

The Big Lead
Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The NBA playoffs are not far off. Now that the All-Star break is over, all teams have around 20 games to play in the regular season. The playoff picture is beginning to crystalize. This has been a fun season because no team has been singularly-dominant and the play-in tournament means pretty much everyone outside of the obvious tankers believes they have a shot at postseason play.

But how many teams make the postseason, which begins on April 15? This is the question we endeavor to answer for you.

How Many Teams Make The NBA Playoffs?

Officially and historically, 16 teams make the playoffs -- the eight best teams record-wise from the Eastern Conference and the eight best teams record-wise from the Western Conference.

However, the introduction of the play-in tournament in 2021 means that, technically, two additional teams from each conference make the playoffs.

It's understandable if that is confusing. The play-in tournament takes place in the two days leading up to the start of the NBA playoffs. The seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th seeds have a mini-tournament to determine the final two spots in each conference's playoff bracket. These aren't full series but one-off games and two teams emerge from each conference to play in a full, best-of-seven playoff series.

So, in short -- 16 teams make the NBA playoffs. But 20 teams will play a postseason game.