The Dallas Mavericks had an early exit in the playoffs down in the Orlando bubble last season, but not before making the LA Clippers sweat bullets.

The expectations are high on Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis to bring the Mavericks on a deeper run in the playoffs, and with the changes the Mavs have made of late, there’s optimism again in Mavs nation.

With all that said, here are three bold predictions for the 2020-21 Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks’ offense will be more efficient this season than the last

We’re talking bold predictions here, so why not start with something that’s hard to top. Let me repeat the headline just for conviction: the Mavericks’ offense in the 2020-21 NBA season will be better than their historic efficiency numbers last season.

To underline just how crazy that would be, let’s establish the fact that the 2019-20 Mavericks had the highest offensive rating in a season in NBA history. In Luka Doncic’s second year in the NBA, the Mavs scored 115.8 points per 100 possessions. This ounds even crazier when you factor in another fact that that mark set by the Mavs broke the record previously held by the 2018-19 Golden State Warriors, who had arguably the deadliest offensive trio ever.

As good as Doncic has been in his first two seasons in the NBA, he’s still just scratching the surface of his full potential. He’s gradually increased his offensive rating in each of his first two seasons in the league, and with the things the Mavs have done over the offseason like adding Josh Richardson and having an excellent haul in the draft plus the return of another efficient, low-usage piece in Dwight Powell from injury, this Dallas team is primed to take the next step — at least from an offensive perspective.

Dallas will finish in the top 10 in scoring defense

After a season in which they gave up 112.1 points per game, which was good for only 16th in the NBA, the Mavericks are bound to improve defensively in the 2020-21 campaign. Doncic is yet to show he can be a two-way player, and the Mavericks are not expecting him to become one anytime soon, so in the meantime, they retooled their roster in the offseason to shore up their perimeter defense.

Nothing screams louder of that objective than the acquisition of Josh Richardson from the Philadelphia 76ers along with Tyler Bey. In exchange, the Mavs only lost Seth Curry. 

The Mavs could miss Curry’s production off the bench, but in Richardson, Dallas gets a 6-5 solid wing defender, who’s not a terrible shooter. Richardson is a career 36.3 percent shooter from deep. Once Kristaps Porzingis returns, the Mavs’ interior defense and rim protection should only get much better. They are still pretty solid defensively around the rim and at the post even without Porzingis, as the Mavs have a healthy Powell, the versatile Maxi Kleber, and Willie Cauley-Stein.

The Mavericks will win the 2020-21 NBA champions

The Los Angeles Lakers are the heavy preseason favorites to win the title next year, but predicting the Mavs to win it all isn’t simply a bold take.

The Mavericks are considered to be a title contender, but you’ll have to run through the names of the Lakers, LA Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, and the Philadelphia 76ers before you find the Mavs’ odds to take home a Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2021.

With the ever-improving Doncic, the return of Kristaps Porzingis to full health, a more balanced roster, and a fantastic head coach in Rick Carlisle, these Mavericks are going to shock the NBA in the upcoming season by winning the franchise’s first title since Dirk Nowitzki and company in 2011.