5 hidden gems of the 2023 NBA Draft class that teams already regret not taking

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat
Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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1. Jaime Jaquez Jr, Miami Heat

If the pundits are being honest, there would only be one NBA freshman capable of making the Rookie of the Year conversation a three-man race—and that is the Miami Heat’s Jaime Jacquez Jr. As a four-year college senior, Jaquez was expected to be able to contribute right away, but no one expected him to be relied on to contribute to a team that was in the NBA Finals a season ago. However, the 18th pick has easily acclimated to what has been coined the Heat Culture.

Not only is he an organizational fit, but he has studied the footwork and game of Jimmy Butler long before becoming a Miami draft option. And it shows on both ends of the ball. On offense, he may occasionally stretch out to three but spends most of his time attacking from 16-feet and under. Defensively, he competes and, win or lose, takes on any matchup challenge with the stars. 
Jaquez’s admiration for Butler has even landed them in hotels.com spots together. 

The notoriety, the accolades, and the All-Star weekend acknowledgements have all been part of the UCLA product’s journey, but above all, his 12.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game have been crucial for Miami in the starting lineup and off the bench.

So much so, that when Jaquez missed time, this season the team openly struggled. The rookie has had nothing but a positive impact, which will be needed if the Heat want to make noise in the postseason.

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