What Does GB Mean In Basketball?

Basketball is a sport full of acronyms of different terms from the game or about the game. Everything and anything in this sport have its particular name and term that defines that specific thing.

Such as GB is the acronym for “Games behind”, another massively important statistic for the fans and the coaches of this sport.

Each year fans and analysts wait for the regular leagues to finish so that they can start figuring out who is going into the top and which will get a chance to play and which won’t.

Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Well, it’s pretty simple actually. To be chosen for the major leagues, each team needs to win a maximum number of games to reach the top 8 on the table.

Some teams in the leagues can set their mark and secure a place in the playoffs comfortably. So all they do is try not to get injured and play it safe until the league is over so that they can be ready for the playoffs.

While other teams are trying their hardest to secure the top spot in the play-offs so they can benefit from the perks of being the top ranking team. And lastly, other teams are just trying their best to reach the top 8 so that they can at least be a part of the playoffs.

To keep a track of how many games each team needs to win to reach the top, the statistic of Games behind or Games back is used. Now let’s look at the definition of the term.

What Does GB Mean In Basketball?

What do Games behind mean?

Games behind or games back means the number of games each team has to win to reach the top ranking. Now it’s understandable that not every team can reach the top ranking yet the number is calculated based on the top ranking as that makes it easier to calculate the ranking of each team and the rating is even and fair for all the teams in the leagues.

GB Explained:

If you look at the leader board of the playoffs it has 3 columns the first column is W for Wins, the second column is L for Losses and the last column is GB for Games behind.

This helps coaches and fans keep track of how many games does their team needs to win to be able to reach the top ranking position in the leaderboard.

Each team plays 82 games in the whole leagues season. So this makes it easy to see the bifurcation between wins and losses. The total of losses and wins needs to be 82 when summed up.

This is how it becomes easy for the fans and the coaches to work out the numbers. As you can now see this statistic is a very important one for each team.

Coaches plan their strategy for each game based upon the GB and buck up their teams to perform better in the upcoming games to ensure a spot in the top 8.

Similarly, the teams that are comfortably sitting on the top-ranking do not have to put too much effort into each game as they know have secured a spot in the play-offs.

What are the perks of being on the top ranking?

The team that secures the top ranking in the play-offs gets the benefit of playing in the home ground until the final game. Along with that, the other benefit of being number one on the ranking is that your first game is against the weakest team on the board which is the 8th number seat.

MLB and NFL are leagues that offer byes as well to the leading teams and sometimes a free-pass on the first round that allows them to go straight through to the second round. This is a big advantage any team can have.

How does play-off seeding work?

GB or Games behind is a very important statistic in understanding how many games each team needs to win to get to the top. Again not every team is gunning to be on the top position of the leaderboard some teams are just trying to make it into the playoffs.

Hence this statistic makes it easier for each team and the fans to understand if their particular favorite team has a chance of making it into the top 8.

Let’s say your favorite team needs 5 games to win and there is another team that needs 4 games to win, this means your favorite team has to win only one more game to replace the team above them. Similarly, this formula applies to all the teams on the leaderboard.

No matter how important the GB statistic and the leaderboard seeds are, the fact is that this has no impact on the actual play-offs. There is a good chance that the number one seed may not even win the first round.

It’s a slim possibility, yet there is a possibility, that the top-ranking seed can get kicked out in the first round, it has happened 5 times in the history of the NBA, but the fact that it has happened is enough to consider that it could happen again.

What happens when two teams are tied?

In any case, there is a possibility that two teams can end up with identical scores and can become tied for the spot. Then which team gets to be the leader and have the top seed. There are simple rules laid down that supply us with the leader and they are as follows:

  • Winning percentage of teams against each other
  • The leading division team wins a tie over a non-division leader
  • Win-lose percentage of division
  • Win-lose percentage of conference


GB is a major statistic that helps figure out the leader board positions. It helps teams and coaches plan their play and helps fans keep a grasp of their team’s final landing spot in the leaderboard.

So when following a team keep an eye out for the GB to know if they make it to the leaderboard or not.