Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets will have their work cut out for them as they look to win the NBA’s all-new In-Season Tournament. Last month, Denver got a bit of a tough draw when the league announced the groups for the first stage of the competition. They’ll be going up against the LA Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets.
Those are four teams who will all be a bit improved next season.
On Tuesday, the NBA announced that the Nuggets would play their group-stage games on the following dates:
- Friday, Nov. 3: Home vs. Dallas
- Tuesday, Nov. 14: Home vs. LA
- Friday, Nov. 17: Away at New Orleans
- Friday, Nov. 24: Away at Houston
What will it take for the Denver Nuggets to win the NBA’s In-Season Tournament?
In order for the Denver Nuggets to take home the first-ever “NBA Cup” trophy, they’ll either have to finish at the top of their group over the course of four early-season games — one against each other team in the bunch — or finish second in the group but have the best record of any other non-group winner in the Western Conference to clinch the wild-card spot.
If the Nuggs were to advance, then they’d find themselves in the knockout stage of the tournament. At that point, they’ll play one of the four other West teams remaining in a single-elimination game. Should they win that, they’d play the winner of the other West matchup in the tournament’s semi-final, which will be held on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas.
Another win would land Denver in the final, also to be played in Vegas on Dec. 9.
The new “In-Season Tournament” should be interesting at the very least. The NBA is seemingly rolling it out in an effort to add higher stakes to early regular-season matchups and get fans excited about games in the fall and early winter.