2024 NBA Mock Draft: March Madness arrives, as does Kentucky's backcourt

An updated look at the 2024 NBA Draft landscape as March Madness gets underway.

Rob Dillingham, Kentucky Wildcats
Rob Dillingham, Kentucky Wildcats / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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12. 12. . . Stephon Castle. 24. player. G. Connecticut. Stephon Castle

Stephon Castle has become something of a lightning rod for NBA Draft discourse. He's contributing extensively for college basketball's best team as a freshman. That is not easy, and it's especially valuable in a guard who is tasked with playmaking for others. Castle has operated in a more refined role, however, often bucking the combo guard label in favor of a more connective wing role. At 6-foot-6, he's one of the best perimeter defenders on the board and an impressive slasher on offense.

What Castle lacks in elite burst, he makes up for with strength and craft. He slyly generates angles as a driver and is great at pushing through contact for finishes. Castle shows tremendous promise as a creator, whether he's working out of pick-and-rolls and simply passing off his drives. The main hangup, however, is his rocky 3-point shot (29.8 percent). He will occasionally drain difficult, contested mid-range jumpers, but the simple fact of the matter is that Castle's shot is a problem. Until it improves, his strength and skill advantages will be mitigated far more at the NBA level.

For Chicago, this is a strong bet on upside as well as fit. It's unclear what the Bulls' plans are beyond this season, but Castle can operate comfortably as a defensive stopper and offensive connector until the direction of Chicago's roster becomes clear. He would fit nicely as the off-guard next to Coby White in the Bulls' long-term plans, with room to grow as a legitimate playmaking hub so long as the jumper comes around.