SportsDay columnists and Mavericks beat writers offer their predictions for the 2020-21 season:

Will Luka Doncic win the NBA MVP award?

Tim Cowlishaw: Doncic will make a run at the award with another season of nearly consistent triple-doubles on a team that completes in the leading four in the Western Conference. I’ll state he completes 3rd in the MVP chase. Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant takes pleasure in life in the Eastern Conference and averages 33 points per game for the Internet to win the honor.

Kevin Sherrington: If it boils down to Luka Doncic or Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka’s possibilities are good. Voters probably will not want to crown the Greek Freak three years in a row, because that’s just took place three times (Expense Russell, 1960-63; Wilt Chamberlain,1965-68; and Larry Bird, 1983-86). Luka likewise will appear like a person doing the majority of his contender’s heavy lifting, so, yeah, he’s the MVP.

Brad Townsend: No. He’ll remain in the thick of the discussion, but I do not believe the Mavs will end up rather high enough in the conference standings. Approved, Giannis Antetokounmpo deals with long shots, attempting to become the first three-peat MVP since Larry Bird (1983-86), but a Doncic MVP win would mean he would supplant Derrick Rose as the youngest to win the award. The bigger challenge may be how the Mavericks fare in the West. In the last 35 years, the only players to make MVP on a group that completed lower than 2nd in the conference standings are Russell Westbrook in 2017 (OKC was 6th, however Westbrook averaged a triple-double), Steve Nash in 2006 (Suns were 3rd) and Michael Jordan in 1988 (Bulls connected for 3rd).

Callie Caplan: Yes. Doncic began as Novice of the Year, then became a finalist for A lot of Better Gamer throughout his second season. Competing, and winning, MVP in his third season looks like the most natural development for the superstar primed to be one of the greatest and most valuable faces of the league for several years to come.

Where will the Mavs surface in the West?

Cowlishaw: The Mavericks have not ended up greater than sixth in the West in the nine seasons considering that winning it all (when they completed 3rd). Dallas jumps up to the fourth area and a home-court benefit (does that even matter?) in the very first round. The Mavericks end up behind Denver, the Lakers and Portland.

Sherrington: 4th. The Mavs still do not have as much talent as either of the LA teams, and Denver can match the Mavs in offensive firepower. However they are a far more well-rounded team with the additions made and the return of Dwight Powell. And you can’t underestimate another year of Luka and Kristaps Porzingis playing together.

Townsend: 4th, behind the Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets. But as a consolation, the Mavericks will finish a strong 47-25 (if in fact they get to play all 72 games), win just their fourth division title (1987, 2007 and 2010 are the other years) and make home-court advantage in the preliminary of the playoffs. And, yes, home-court will matter due to the fact that ideally by then COVID-19 vaccines will be readily available for much of the population.

Caplan: Fourth. The Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets all have the lineup connection and experience to be favorites for the West’s leading three seeds, but the Mavericks will be challenging for home-court advantage in at least the preliminary of the playoffs, too. The biggest aspect in the Mavs’ multi-spot improvement: winning more video games in clutch time.

How far will Dallas advance in the playoffs?

Cowlishaw: With Kristaps Porzingis needing to be healthy in the spring and providing, the Mavericks advance to the Western Conference Finals. They beat Phoenix in 6 video games in the opening round and Denver in seven before running up versus the Lakers and losing in 5 video games. However the future is bright. LeBron won’t play forever.

Sherrington: Lose to the Lakers in the conference semifinals in seven games. This will be the Lakers’ last title run as the league’s young super stars start to assert themselves. After another substantial addition next summertime, the Mavs will be full-blown title contenders. Till then, it’ll be enjoyable.

Townsend: They will win their very first playoff series considering that the 2011 NBA Finals and advance a minimum of to the 2nd round. And depending upon which matchup they get in the 2nd round, I might see them advancing to their very first conference last since ’11.

Caplan: Second round. The Mavericks haven’t won a playoff series because the 2011 championship run, so this would qualify as an important next step in Doncic and Porzingis leading the franchise back to championship contention. One postseason series win, however, will quickly pave the way to even loftier expectations and more regular chatter about Dallas’ pursuit of the NBA Finals.

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