The Indianapolis Jets and Providence Steamrollers folded after the 1948–49 season, leaving the BAA with 10 teams. Three of them had joined the BAA from the National Basketball League (NBL) one year before.
Seven NBL franchises – six established teams (Anderson, Denver, Sheboygan, Syracuse, Tri-Cities, and Waterloo) and one expansion team (Indianapolis Olympians) – joined with the ten surviving BAA teams to create the National Basketball Association with 17 teams.
In this inaugural NBA season only, the ten surviving teams from BAA 1949 played a heavy schedule of games with each other and a light schedule with the seven NBL participants in the merger that created the league; and vice versa. The BAA 1949 teams were all except Syracuse in the East and all five in the Central Division; none in the West.
Syracuse played a heavy schedule of 44 games against Western Division teams: on average just over seven games each, same as they played each other (35 to 37 games against five Western rivals). The Western Division teams were generally weaker on the court; none won half of its games played outside the division. Yet Syracuse won at the same 80% rate against the East and Central (16–4) or against the West (35–9).
To define first and third place, the Lakers played one game against the Royals, the Stags one against the Pistons, preliminary to the 1950 NBA Playoffs.
The five Central Division teams and five Eastern teams beside Syracuse—that is, the ten BAA 1949 teams—uniformly played 68 games: six games in each pairing among themselves (54) and two games each against each of the Western teams and Syracuse (14).
The six Western Division teams and Syracuse—that is, the seven NBL participants in the merger—uniformly played two games each against every one of the ten BAA 1949 teams, the East and Central teams except Syracuse (20 games each). They played seven or nine games in each pairing among themselves (at least 42 games).