How Many Players Are In The NBA?: NBA Draft and New Players


The NBA is a showcase of top-tier basketball talent. It brings together players from around the globe. Fans often ask, “How many players are in the NBA?” This number can vary, reflecting roster changes and league expansions. It’s a dynamic figure that evolves with each season’s drafts and trades.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a professional basketball league in North America, comprising some of the world’s most skilled and celebrated athletes. Understanding the player count within the NBA is not just about numbers; it reflects the league’s structure, dynamics, and evolution over time. This article sheds light on the number of players within the NBA and its historical context.

how many players are in the nba

How Many Players Are In The NBA?

The NBA, with its rigorous schedule and high competition, requires a substantial number of players. Each season, the count fluctuates due to trades, injuries, retirements, and new recruits. Typically, the league maintains a consistent range of total players, anchored by team roster limits and league regulations.

2019-20 Season Total Player Count:

During the 2019-20 NBA season, the player count was reflective of standard roster sizes and contract types. This season was particularly notable due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also influenced team compositions and player availability. 2019-20 Season: 529 Player count

Which NBA team has the most players?

In any given season, the team with the most players can vary due to multiple factors, such as injuries necessitating additional signings, or strategic player development decisions. This number can also include players on two-way contracts, which allows teams to utilize their G League affiliate players.

Which NBA team has the least players?

Conversely, the team with the fewest players typically reflects a stable roster with fewer injuries or a strategic approach to maintaining a tighter, more focused player group. The minimum number of players a team can have is also governed by the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

What size are the NBA teams rosters

NBA team rosters are generally fixed in size. The regular season allows for a maximum of 15 players on standard contracts, with additional spots for two-way contract players. The offseason allows teams to carry additional players for evaluation.

How Many NBA Players Does Each NBA Team Have?

On average, each NBA team carries the maximum allowed roster of players, with variations occurring due to short-term contracts, such as 10-day contracts, and the aforementioned two-way contracts which allow for flexibility and player development.

NBA rosters are limited to 15 players during the regular season, plus two players on two-way contracts, expanding each team’s roster to 17 players maximum. Teams may carry up to 20 players during the offseason.

Total Number Of Players In Recent Seasons

Examining the actual data, we see that the count of basketball athletes each NBA season typically surpasses 450. Below are the recorded figures for NBA players who made at least a single game appearance in the regular season over recent years:

  • In the 2020-21 season, there were 540 players.
  • The 2019-20 season saw 529 players.
  • There were 530 players participating in the 2018-19 season.
  • The 2017-18 season had 540 players, marking the introduction of two-way player contracts.
  • The 2016-17 season featured 486 players.
  • For the 2015-16 season, the number was 476.
  • The 2014-15 season counted 492 players.

Total NBA Players In League History

Since its inception in 1946, thousands of players have passed through the NBA. This historical total accounts for the ever-growing global appeal of the league and the increasing accessibility of basketball as a sport worldwide.

Why Does The Total Player Count Vary Each Year?

The total player count varies each year for several reasons, such as league expansion, the varying number of retirements and new players entering the league, and changes in team management strategies.

Some teams sign less than 15 standard contracts

To maintain flexibility for trades and salary cap management, some teams opt to sign fewer than the maximum of 15 standard contracts, allowing for mid-season adjustments.

Teams also have two-way contract players

Two-way contracts permit teams to have players split their time between the NBA and the G League, affecting the overall player count within the NBA at any given time.

Teams also sign 10-day contracts

10-day contracts are a strategic tool for teams to temporarily fill roster spots, which can alter the total number of players throughout the season.

NBA Total Player Count Vs. Other Major Leagues

Comparing the NBA’s player count to other major sports leagues is an intriguing exercise that highlights the unique aspects of the sport, such as the smaller team sizes compared to leagues like the NFL or MLB.

International Players

The NBA’s international player base has expanded significantly, bringing a global presence to the league and increasing the overall player count with athletes from diverse backgrounds.

NBA Draft and New Players

The NBA Draft is an annual event where teams select eligible players to join the league. This influx of new talent is a critical component of the total player count.

Undrafted Players:

Not all players who enter the NBA come through the draft. Undrafted players can be signed as free agents, adding to the dynamic nature of the player count.

Annual Draft Process:

The draft process involves scouting, workouts, and evaluations, culminating in the selection event which determines the immediate future for many young athletes.

Players In NBA History Who Played 20+ Seasons (including games):

A select few NBA players have had extraordinarily long careers, spanning 20 or more seasons, a testament to their skill, longevity, and the changing nature of athlete health and performance.

How Many NBA Players Have Won a Championship?

Winning an NBA championship is a crowning achievement, and the number of players who have reached this pinnacle is a fraction of those who have played in the league.

How Many Players Are in the G League?

The NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league, hosts a significant number of players who are developing their skills in hopes of making an NBA roster.

How Many Players Are in the WNBA?

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has its own set of roster rules and player counts, reflecting the state of professional women’s basketball in North America.

How Many Players Are there in NCAA Basketball?

NCAA basketball is a vast ecosystem with its own expansive player count, serving as a primary feeder system into the NBA and professional leagues worldwide.


How many NBA teams are there?

There are 30 teams that compete in the NBA. These teams are split between the Eastern and Western Conferences.

How many players have played in the NBA?

Thousands of players have taken to the court in NBA history. The exact number changes as new players join each season.

How many players is an NBA team allowed to have?

An NBA team can have up to 15 players on standard contracts. They can also have 2 players on two-way contracts.

Are G League players good?

G League players are talented and often on the cusp of playing in the NBA. They can be called up to play for NBA teams when needed.

How many NBA players have won an MVP?

A select group of NBA players have been honored with the MVP award. It’s given annually to the player deemed most valuable to their team.

How many players have won MVP and DPOY awards?

Only a few elite players have won both the MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) awards. It’s a rare achievement highlighting both offensive and defensive excellence.

Are teams allowed to acquire players during the season?

Yes, NBA teams can sign new players during the season. They often do this to replace injured players or to strengthen their team.

What are the teams to never win a championship?

Some NBA teams have never won a championship. These teams continue to compete each season to achieve their first title.

Final Words:

The NBA is a dynamic league with a fascinating player structure. It’s intriguing to explore how many players are in the NBA, as it reflects the league’s depth and talent.

Each season brings new faces, adding to the rich history of the game. The precise number can vary, but the passion and skill remain constants. This number signifies more than just athletes; it represents a global community united by basketball.

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