DALLAS - Who is ready to leave the year 2020 in the rear-view mirror and look forward to a promising 2021?
A bright spot of this year? The Dallas Mavericks made the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2016. Although Dallas hasn't gotten past the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2011, the future looks promising for the team, led by star Luka Doncic.
And maybe that future is ... now.
Relatively speaking, Vegas thinks so, too. The Mavs have 30/1 odds to win it all next season, 11th best in the league. This is a gigantic leap from the 100/1 odds that oddsmakers gave the Mavs during the 2019-20 preseason to win the 2020 NBA title.
Over the past year, it's obvious why oddsmakers saw a significant improvement in Dallas.
The Mavs exceeded expectations in the season restart in Orlando, battling one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers. Although Dallas' season ultimately ended in a six-game series loss to the Clippers, the playoff experience should prove invaluable. Doncic, the dynamic 21-year-old, who tallied two 40-point games, including one edge-of-your-seat buzzer-beater in his first-ever playoff series.
A healthy Kristaps Porzingis in the last 20 games averaged 26.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game. At 25-years-old, Porzingis played a huge role in the Dallas offense that is statistically the NBA's best ever.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the the favorites at 4/1, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers (5/1). The Golden State Warriors have third-best odds (9/1), after finishing with the league’s worst record in 2020 and making it to five straight NBA Finals. Then comes Milwaukee (9/1), Boston (12/1) and Brooklyn (12/1).
What next season looks like is still up in the air. Commissioner Adam Silver has said his "best guess' is that the 2020-21 season would not begin until at least January. The NBA Draft is Nov. 18 and Dallas owns the rights to picks No. 18 and No. 31.
We can't yet be sure of when we'll get there, even in terms of the start of the season. But the oddsmakers are helping us feel good about what the Mavs might accomplish when we do.