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How many players are in the NBA? (2023-2024)

There are a total of 30 NBA teams, and each team can have a maximum of 15 players. With some basic math:

There are approximately 450 players in the NBA at one time.

This number can fluctuate as teams do not always carry a full roster size; some players get waived; and some new players get signed part way through the season.

If we also consider G League Two-Way players, 10-day contracts, etc., then the actual number of players that play in the NBA per season is much higher than 450.

As of last update, there are currently 518 players officially listed on an NBA roster.

Read on for more interesting facts about the number of players in the NBA:

Let’s get started!

How many players are in the NBA right now? (2023-2024 season)

#1 Draft pick Victor Wembanyama is just one of the 500+ players that will play in the NBA this season.

As of last update, there are 517 officially listed on the NBA league-wide roster.

This number includes G League Two Way players, players signed to 10-day contracts, and some players that were recently waived (e.g. Danny Green).

If we only count those that are still on a team, then there are 518 players.

The actual number of players on NBA rosters can fluctuate drastically over the course of a season due to many reasons (injuries, suspensions, waived, etc.)

Let’s take a closer look at the complicated roster rules of the NBA:

Maximum / Minimum Number of Players per Team

Each team has 15 players, even if most of them don’t play

During the regular season, the standard maximum roster size per NBA team is 15 players. Teams can carry as little as 14 players (but not indefinitely).

The fifteen spots includes players on both the active and inactive list, but not Two Way players (max 3 players).

Including Two Way players, the standard maximum roster size is 18.

During the offseason, a team can have a total of 21 players combined on its Active, Inactive, and Two Way list.

Below is a definition of each type:

Active List

“Active List” refers to players that are eligible to participate in NBA games.

By rule, each team must have at least 12 active players for each regular season game.

A team must also have at least 8 players sitting on the bench for each game. This is why you sometimes see an injured player dressed in uniform on the bench, even though he is not going to play.

Inactive List

“Inactive List” refers to players who can not participate in NBA games. They may be injured, or suspended (e.g. Ja Morant).

Two Way Players List

Johnny Juzang is a Two Way player for the Utah Jazz

Each NBA team can have up to a maximum of three G League Two-Way Players on its roster.

Two Way players do not count towards the standard 15 player roster maximum.

If a Two Way player is called up to play a regular season game, then the team’s maximum roster size is increased to 16.

Two-Way Players can only play up to a maximum of 50 games during the regular season, and are not allowed to play in the post-season (i.e. the playoffs).

Click here for a list of current Two Way players

Some Other Details

According to the CBA, the league as a whole must have an average of 14.25 players on its roster over two consecutive regular seasons. If not, then each team will be forced to employ a minimum of 15 players for the remainder of the current CBA deal.

A team can actually have as little as 12-13 players on its roster at a time, but for no more than 2 weeks in a row, or 28 days total (in a season).

A team can sometimes exceed 15 players due to a player being injured (i.e. hardship rule), or if a player is in the league’s Anti-Drug Program.

Learn how many players are on a basketball team in other leagues (FIBA, WNBA, etc.)

How Many NBA Players Does Each NBA Team Have?

Injuries have messed up the Grizzlies’ roster in 2023-2024

Let’s take a look at how each team’s roster size currently stacks up (including Two Way Players)

(last updated November 2023)

Team# of players
Atlanta Hawks18
Boston Celtics18
Brooklyn Nets17
Charlotte Hornets18
Chicago Bulls17
Cleveland Cavaliers17
Dallas Mavericks18
Denver Nuggets18
Detroit Pistons18
Golden State Warriors17
Houston Rockets18
Indiana Pacers18
Los Angeles Clippers16
Los Angeles Lakers17
Memphis Grizzlies19
Miami Heat17
Milwaukee Bucks18
Minnesota Timberwolves17
New Orleans Pelicans17
New York Knicks18
Oklahoma City Thunder18
Orlando Magic18
Philadelphia 76ers18
Phoenix Suns17
Portland Trail Blazers18
Sacramento Kings18
San Antonio Spurs18
Toronto Raptors18
Utah Jazz18
Washington Wizards18
# of players includes Two Way players

Only 10 out of 30 teams are not at the standard maximum limit (i.e. 18 players: 15 full-time players + 3 Two Way players).

The Grizzlies are the only team actually over the standard maximum. This is because they have had a huge number of injuries, so the NBA has allowed them to sign extra players under injury “hardship” contracts.

Total Number Of Players In Recent Seasons

Lonzo Ball hasn’t played a game since 2021-2022 due to injury. Does he still count as an NBA player in 2023-2024?

If we include all Two-Way players, 10-day contract players, as well as the players that get waived part way through the season … then the total number of players in one NBA season is typically well over 500.

Based on Salaries

One way to count how many players are in the league per season is to see how many players received any sort of salary.

This season (2023-2024), there have already been 555 players who have been on an NBA payroll at some point in time.

Last season (2022-2023), there were a total of 574 players that got paid.

Here are the totals from the past 5 seasons:

NBA SeasonTotal # of players
2022-2023574
2021-2022653
2020-2021578
2019-2020515
2018-2019566
# of players = players that received a salary (data via Hoopshype)

The problem with this counting method is that some players get paid, but never actually play a game (e.g. Lonzo Ball hasn’t played for two seasons due to injury).

Or, a player had a guaranteed contract from previous years, and is getting paid despite not being on an NBA team anymore.

E.g. Eric Bledsoe hasn’t played in the NBA since 2021/2022, but is still getting paid until this season. He’s now in Shanghai.

Based on Games Played

Perhaps a better way to count how many players there are in an NBA season is to count how many actually played at least one game!

So far, for the current season (2023-2024), 493 players have played at least one game. That means that over 50 players have been on a team’s payroll at some point this season, but never actually played.

Here is a look at how many players have played at least one game in the previous 5 seasons:

NBA SeasonTotal # of players
2022-2023539
2021-2022605
2020-2021540
2019-2020529
2018-2019530
# of players = players that played at least one game (data via bball-ref)

Interesting note: In 2022-2023, Mikal Bridges played 83 games, despite there only being 82 games in a season (he was traded part way through the season).

How many players have played in NBA history?

Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp are just 2 of the over 5000 players in NBA history.

According to basketball-reference.com, there have been a total of 5177 players throughout NBA history!

Interestingly, there has never been a player with a last name starting with the letter “X”.

Players in the NBA Who Have Played The Most Seasons

Vince Carter played the most seasons in NBA history

There are only 9 players in NBA history who have played 20 or more seasons.

Vince Carter currently has the record at 22 seasons!

Player# of SeasonsActive Years
Vince Carter221998-2020
Dirk Nowitzki211998-2019
Kevin Garnett211995-2015
Kevin Willis211984-2004, 2007
LeBron James212003-Present
Jamal Crawford202000-2020
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar201969-1989
Kobe Bryant201996-2016
Udonis Haslem202003-2023
Note: Kevin Willis retired in 2005-2006, but then came back and played 5 games in 2007. His actual career technically spanned over 23 seasons

LeBron James is the only active player in the top 10. If he plays a couple more seasons, then he will be the new record holder with 23 seasons played.

There are a plethora of players who have played 19 NBA seasons, including famous names like Chris Paul, Jason Kidd (current Buck’s head coach), Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Moses Malone, and Shaquille O’Neal.

Chris Paul is the only active player with 19 seasons of NBA experience, and can break into the elusive 20+ season club if he plays one more season.

Other FAQ

How many All-NBA players are there?

There are three All-NBA teams selected at the end of each season (i.e. 1st Team, 2nd Team, 3rd Team).

Each team has 5 players (2 guards, 2 forwards, 1 center), so there are a total of 15 All-NBA players each year.

Here were the All-NBA team selections last season (2022-2023):

GuardGuardForwardForwardCenter
1st teamShai Gilgeous-AlexanderLuka DoncicGiannis AntetokounmpoJayson TatumJoel Embiid
2nd teamDonovan MitchellStephen CurryJimmy ButlerJaylen BrownNikola Jokic
3rd teamDe’Aaron FoxDamian LillardJulius RandleLeBron JamesDomantas Sabonis
The 15 All-NBA players of 2022-2023

For previous years, check out the full list from NBA.com

How many players are in an NBA match?

During a regular season game, each team must have a minimum of 13 players to start the game (8 on the bench, 5 on the floor).

What’s the average salary in the NBA?

The average player salary in the NBA is around $8 million per season.

💰 Check out this post for more about average NBA salaries

How many teams are in the NBA?

There are currently 30 teams in the NBA. 29 of them are in the United States, and 1 is in Canada (i.e. Toronto Raptors)

🗺 Check out this post for lists of NBA teams names, locations, and a teams map.

How many players are in the NBA G League?

There are currently 31 G League teams, with each team having 12-13 players on its roster (including Two Way Players).

A team’s active roster can expand if an NBA team assigns a player to the club from its NBA roster.

As of last update (December 2023), there are currently 430 players in the G League.

Click here for current list of G League players

How Many Players Are in the WNBA?

There are 12 teams in the WNBA, and each team can have 12 players. This means that there are approximately 144 players maximum at a time in the WNBA.

Similar to the NBA, some teams do not carry full rosters, and players may get waived or signed part way through the season.

Last season (2022), there were a total 164 players listed in the league roster.

How many players are in the NBA Hall of Fame?

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame consists of players, coaches, referees, teams and other notable basketball figures from the NBA and other basketball leagues (i.e. college, WNBA, etc).

There are currently 460 hall of fame inductees. 231 of them are players.

Click here to browse through all of the hall of famers.

Summary

What do you think about the number of players in the NBA?

Should the league reduce or increase roster sizes? Should the NBA expand to more teams (e.g. Seattle)?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.