2024 NBA Draft scouting report: Stephon Castle

If he can put the pieces together, Stephon Castle has genuine All-Star potential.
Stephon Castle, Connecticut
Stephon Castle, Connecticut / G Fiume/GettyImages

Stephon Castle arrived at UConn with an impossible task, asked to fill the shoes of sophomore standout Jordan Hawkins, who leaped to the NBA after the Huskies' magical 2023 championship run. Though vastly different as a player, Castle has held his own and then some as Connecticut's starting two-guard.

Now the Huskies are back-to-back champs. Castle was the rare impact freshman on a top-tier contender, not just contributing but starting and, at times, starring for the best team in college basketball. While there are concerns about how much of Castle's skill set will translate to the next level, he is the prototypical combo guard on paper. Strong enough to defend multiple positions and skilled as a ball-handler, Castle checks boxes for a number of NBA teams.

Given the perceived weakness of the 2024 NBA Draft class, it's not hard to understand why there is so much excitement around Castle. Even when his production wavers, he is able influence winning by sheer force of will. He plays the game with a competitive fire that front offices will appreciate, not to mention the potential scalability of his skill set as a dynamic, wing-sized ball-handler.

The Huskies' deep run in March has only cemented Castle's stock. Able to showcase different attributes in different matchups, Castle coalesced beautifully with the Huskies' uber-talented starting five. Next, he will get a chance to impress scouts in the pre-draft workout phase.

Stephon Castle NBA Draft bio

Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 215 pounds
Birthdate: Nov. 1, 2004
Position: Shooting Guard/Point Guard
Offensive Role: Slashing Guard
Defensive Role: Switchable Wing
Projected Draft Range: 1-14

NBA Draft highlights


Castle has prototypical measurements for an NBA off-guard. He's 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, blessed with a 6-foot-9 wingspan that comes in especially handy on defense. Castle has the quickness to defend point guards and the strength to body up larger players in the post. He was asked to guard all over the floor at UConn, often handling the toughest assignments as a freshman. The Huskies called on Castle to guard the likes of Mark Sears and Terrence Shannon Jr. in March Madness. Every NBA teams need an on-ball stopper.

There should be a solid floor attached to Castle's defense and general well-roundedness. He's flexible within various personnel groups and schemes, comfortable operating on or off the ball. He can defend 1-4 in most NBA lineups, and he has the luxury of hailing from UConn's dynamic, pro-style system. Castle was not the Huskies' go-to star, unlike some highly touted freshmen, but he proved that he can adapt and contribute within a winning context. That is more valuable when projecting toward the next level than putting up empty calories at a mediocre school.

Castle has earned the Swiss Army Knife label, which can be positive or negative depending on your persuasion. Some will argue that Castle has "a lot of good skills, [but] he’s not great at anything" (h/t Kevin O'Connor, The Ringer). Others will focus on his versatility. Even if he doesn't have one standout ability, Castle covers his bases. He's functional as a ball-handler and creator, or he can spot-up, cut into open space, and operate as a play-finisher. Players with so many avenues to contribute tend to find their way to success.

There is real All-Star upside with Castle, who is starting to trend toward the top-five on some boards. UConn's title certainly helps Castle's case in the eyes of skeptical scouts. He's a strong, bullish slasher, comfortable plowing through smaller defenders at the rim and absorbing contact to finish or draw fouls.

He lacks an elite first step and he's not the most dynamic ball-handler, but Castle has a preternatural sense for shifting gears. He uses hang dribbles and hesitation moves to freeze his defender before slipping into the lane and attacking the rim. Castle won't explode for vertical finishes in traffic, but he's able to contort his body in midair to locate angles and evade rim protection.

Castle passes well off a live dribble, too. He keeps his head up and constantly locates ducking bigs or open shooters on the wing. He will need to improve his 3-point shot to stretch out the defense, but Castle's on-ball utility at his size is a major plus in such a weak draft. Even with concerns about the scoring, teams will buy the upside of a potential jumbo point guard. He should look good operating out of pick-and-rolls.

In the early stages of his development, Castle is probably best situated next to a more traditional ball-handler in the NBA. His defender will hang back and try to pack the paint, but Castle is a real weapon attacking downhill off the catch and tearing apart rotating defenses. He has good instincts for cutting backdoor and relocating into open space. Once he has momentum toward the basket, Castle's blend of brute strength and balletic footwork is difficult to stop.

There are concerns about the jumper, but Castle shot 75.5 percent on free throws and was especially strong late in the season. He looks good on the occasional mid-range pull-up, even if his percentages aren't great. Castle has touch and workable mechanics. The idea of him improving into a decent 3-point shooter isn't too far-fetched, especially in today's age of NBA skill development. That would really open the door for Castle to exceed expectations and become more than a connective piece.


The primary weakness for Castle is his 3-point shooting. The 19-year-old shot 26.7 percent from deep on the season, averaging 2.2 attempts in 27.0 minutes. More concerning than the low percentage is the low volume. Castle often hesitated on open 3s and dribbled out of easy spot-up opportunities. It's easier to get by with cramped spacing in college. NBA defenses will force Castle to shoot until it's no longer a viable strategy. That could limit his utility, even with how many boxes he checks otherwise.

Castle isn't a particularly great athlete by NBA standards either. While the size and strength helps offset those concerns, Castle doesn't have the first step to consistently generate advantages on the perimeter. He relies on craft, tempo, and muscle to get to his spots and create lanes to the rim. Couple that with shooting limitations, and Castle could have a difficult time locating the same driving lanes and scoring opportunities at the next level, no matter how much better the spacing is compared to the college game. It will also impact Castle's playmaking if defenders are able to play the passing lanes or suffocate him at the point of attack.

What will be most impacted by limited shooting, however, is Castle's off-ball contributions. It's hard to plant your 6-foot-6 combo guard in the dunker's spot. If Castle can't operate exclusively on-ball, but he's not a good enough shooter to demand attention off-ball, he runs the risk of falling out of the rotation early on.

While he generally fared well at the rim in college, Castle's lack of vertical pop is frequently cited as a concern. He endured a knee injury during the season and he's already a mostly below-the-rim finisher. His strength and craft is easy to believe in, but Castle doesn't have the jitterbug athleticism to evade defenders and create angles on a dime. When confronted with NBA length, it's fair to wonder how well his finishing will hold up.

Final summary

Castle gained a ton of fans during the NCAA Tournament. He's easy to root for — the kind of diligent worker that should worm his way into an NBA role, no matter the shooting concerns. Castle is willing to sacrifice touches for the betterment of his team. He will screen, cut, and pass in the flow of the offense if that's what is asked of him. If his NBA team decides to put him on ball, Castle should be just fine.

The shooting concerns are grave, but if Castle can develop that one key skill, it should elevate the rest of his repertoire. Suddenly more driving lanes open up, he's more dangerous in pick-and-rolls, and his lack of downhill burst is easier to compensate for.

His defense, no matter what, is fantastic. Castle is going to guard hard, and he's going to crash the glass and do all the little things necessary to impact winning. His work ethic is well documented and his capacity to occupy various roles at UConn was very impressive. One could argue that UConn was too perfect a spot for Castle, and therefore he never got to test the limits of his skill set. But, generally, Castle won't be the No. 1 option at the next level. Not straight away, at least. It's good to see how he looks in a complementary role with NBA-level talent around him.

2024 NBA MOCK DRAFT. Donovan Clingan, Stephon Castle win big as UConn repeats. Donovan Clingan, Stephon Castle win big as UConn repeats. dark