The Dallas Mavericks had a disastrous 2023-24 NBA season, missing the playoffs for the first time in Luka Doncic’s career. However, they did have some good luck in the 2023 NBA Draft lottery, holding onto the No. 10 pick instead of having to give it to the New York Knicks. Now, while most NBA mock drafts have the Mavs pick as Central Florida’s Taylor Hendricks or Kansas’ Gradey Dick, the Mavs draft could go a different way and take one of these sneaky players, including the son of a former Mavs player in Jett Howard.

Dallas has a generational talent in Doncic and it seems like they are moving forward with re-signing Kyrie Irving, despite the duo chocking down the stretch last season. This means in the 2023 NBA Draft the Mavs pick must be a player who complements this pair in some way.

This leaves a variety of options for the Mavs to consider. The team could look for a knockdown 3-point shooter, a 3-and-D wing, a rim protector, or a rim-running big to help Doncic and Irving in the pick-and-roll.

While Hendricks and Dick could definitely help in several of those areas, there are a few other intriguing prospects the Mavs could decide to go with in these sneaky players who could be the pick at No. 10.

Jett Howard, Michigan

In 2000, the Washington Wizards traded Juwan Howard to the Mavericks. The former Fab Five Michigan legend (and current Wolverines head coach) played in 80 Big D at the end of the 2000-01 season and the beginning of 2001-02. He’d later return for 50 games in the 2007-08 campaign.

Between Juwan’s two stints in Dallas, the longtime NBA forward had a son named Jett Howard.

Fast forward 19 years and Jett Howard is a top NBA draft prospect after playing one season for his dad at Michigan. Jett is a long, 6-foot-8 wing who can shoot, score off the bounce, and play-make for his teammates. He is also excellent at coming around screens and on dribble handoffs.

Jett Howard has some athletic limitations as a defender, but he does try hard on that side of the ball. And what he lacks in defensive prowess, he makes up in his all-around offensive game and his willingness to take and make big shots.

All these skills make Howard an excellent complement to Doncic and Irving, and he could be the missing piece to help link the two superstars together on offense that they were missing last season.

Bilal Coulibaly, Metropolitans 92 (France)

Previous Mavs drafts have worked out pretty well when the team selects players born outside of the United States. And while they all came to Dallas via in-draft trades, Dirk Nowitzki (Germany), Steve Nash (Canada), and Luka Doncic (Slovenia) are among the best players in franchise history.

In the 2023 NBA Draft, the Mavs pick could go back to the international well, and the team could take 18-year-old Frenchman Bilal Coulibaly.

Coulibaly played on Metropolitans 92 in France with the soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick, Victor Wembanyama. The 6-foot-7 wing is bouncy, athletic, and strong. If nothing else develops in his NBA career, he should be able to be a plus defender in the NBA right away.

That said, Coulibaly has made major improvements on the offensive side of the ball. He is an explosive dunker and an excellent transition player who can get to the bucket with ease. The youngster also shot over 34% from 3-point range this past season and over 76% from the line.

With these numbers, his age, and his overall athletic profile, Coulibaly could become a star 3-and-D wing in the league, which would be a great help for Luka and Kyrie.

Dereck Lively II, Kansas

If the sneaky Mavs pick in the 2023 NBA Draft isn’t a wing like Jett Howard or Bilal Coulibaly, it could be a big man such as Duke’s Dereck Lively.

Lively wasn’t great in his one and only season at Duke. The No. 1 high school recruit in the country the year prior was outshined by other Blue Devils freshmen like Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell, and Dariq Whitehead.

However, at 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-7 wingspan and the athleticism of a smaller player, Lively’s game may be better suited for the NBA than it was for college. And there’s no denying how dominant he was just a year ago in high school.

Lively is a great pick-and-roll player, even though Duke didn’t do much of that last season. He also shoots well for a big man and could become a stretch big at the next level. On defense, he can protect the rim and is quick enough to switch on pick-and-rolls to slow down guards.

The fact that Lively struggled at Duke last season could make him a major steal for an NBA team, which is why he could be a Mavs draft pick at No. 10.