6 Sleeper targets for Mavericks in the 2023 NBA Draft a la Jaden Hardy

After their success with Jaden Hardy last year, could the Dallas Mavericks trade up into the second round once again at the 2023 NBA Draft?
Dallas Mavericks, 2023 NBA Draft, Jaden Hardy
Dallas Mavericks, 2023 NBA Draft, Jaden Hardy / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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Undervalued NBA Draft prospects the Dallas Mavericks should keep an eye on

James Nnaji

For an undervalued prospect, James Nnaji is about as "under the radar" as they come. He's an 18-year-old, 6-foot-10 prospect with an astounding 7-foot-7 wingspan. The Smoking Cuban's Jack Simone recently mentioned Nnaji as a player the Mavs could draft if they trade back.

Nnaji comes in at 43rd on the Big Board. His low ranking is largely attributed to his lack of production, as he only averaged 3.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in about 9.0 minutes of action per game for FC Barcelona this past year.

Nnaji would be a perfect fit for the Mavs and a nice project to take a swing on, as the Mavs have lacked a true interior defensive presence for some time now.

Terquavion Smith

Next, Terquavion Smith is a potential plug-and-play sparkplug off the bench, a la Jaden Hardy. Smith declared for the draft as a freshman in 2022 but ultimately withdrew his name, instead choosing to return to NC State for a second season.

Smith was projected to be a first-round pick in 2022. However, his 2022-23 season was similar to his freshman year, as his scoring and assists increased a tad, and his percentages dropped. Look for Smith to fall in the draft due to his stature, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, and low shooting percentages. That being said, Smith can score the ball, and he would immediately provide a scoring punch off the Mavs bench.

Tristan Vukcevic

Finally, a relatively unknown Serbian big man who could easily outplay his draft position, Tristan Vukcevic. Vukcevic does not have any accolades or much statistical production. He was buried on the Real Madrid as a teenager and Partizan depth chart as a 20-year-old, but Vukcevic performed exceptionally against NBA hopefuls at the Combine.

Vukcevic put up 21 points while going 3-for-3 from distance in his only action at the Combine. Ranked 42nd on the Big Board, Vukcevic could truly go anywhere on draft night.

He has an abundance of skills for a seven-footer, just not much production to back it up. Look for a team like the Mavs to have Vukcevic high on their draft board and pounce if he drops deep into the second round.