Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: UConn G Stephon Castle

May 22, 2024, 5:25 PM

Stephon Castle #5 of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball...

Stephon Castle #5 of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – UConn guard Stephon Castle is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own the tenth pick.

The Jazz own three of the top 32 selections in the 2024 draft allowing them to add valuable pieces to their already young core.

Here’s how Castle would fit with the Jazz if he lands in Utah in late June.

Related: Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft Prospects

Utah Jazz Draft: Stephon Castle – G – UConn

Stats: 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists: .472/.267/.755

Strengths: A top ten recruit coming out of high school, Castle played a key role in UConn’s championship run as a freshman.

Castle has excellent size for a guard measuring in at 6-foot-5.5 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Though most of his scoring came inside the arc, the Georgia native shot an impressive 54 percent on two-point shots in college thanks in large part to his strength and athleticism near the rim.

Castle isn’t a big-time leaper, but with improved spacing in the NBA, his ability to finish above the rim could be a hidden strength.

The guard has adequate wiggle with the ball in his hands and can get into the paint off the dribble, even when defenders have backed off of him to prevent drives. Once he’s near the hoop, Castle can use the euro step and hesitation moves to get his shot off with ease.

Despite a roster filled with several future pros, UConn regularly turned to Castle in the game’s biggest moments where he delivered against the toughest competition.

While his 2.9 assist per game average isn’t elite for a guard, he boasted a promising 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio and could see that number grow as a full-time ballhandler in the NBA.

Defensively, Castle shows great effort on and off the ball, and is a plus rebounder for a guard.

The 19-year-old fights over screens, jumps passing lanes, shows active hands, and crashes the glass well on both ends of the floor.

The NBA is quickly moving away from one-way players, and Castle’s ability to contribute on offense and defense from an early age fits the direction the league is headed.

Weaknesses: Castle’s three-point shooting is arguably the biggest question mark for any player in the draft.

The guard connected on just 26 percent of his threes in college, and never made more than two in any game.

At this point in his career, he’s neither an effective, nor willing three-point shooter which allows opposing defenders to sag off of him and clog the paint.

There simply aren’t many examples of great NBA guards who can’t shoot.

Due in part to his poor three-point shooting, Castle wasn’t an elite scorer in college averaging only 11.1 points per game, one of the lowest numbers among projected lottery picks.

Though UConn called his number in big moments, he was surrounded by an elite roster which may have helped mask his deficiencies, a luxury not every player in the lottery experienced.

Would Stephon Castle Fit With Jazz In Draft?

Despite the Jazz’s already deep backcourt, they lack the defense and connectivity that Castle projects to bring to an NBA roster.

Though rumors have emerged that he is refusing to work out for teams that already have a point guard on the roster, the Jazz could use Castle as either the primary, or complimentary ballhandler alongside Collin Sexton, Keyonte George, Jordan Clarkson, and Brice Sensabaugh.

The Jazz need star upside, and if Castle’s jump shot develops into even an average NBA weapon he has the other tools required to become a cornerstone piece.

If the shot doesn’t develop, Castle still offers some upside as a defender capable of guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player, though he’d have to buy into that being his main role.

If George, Sensabaugh, and Taylor Hendricks continue to develop as three-point shooters, Castle’s shooting could be masked in Utah. If those players fail to shoot efficiently, he may have a harder time reaching his full potential.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: UConn G Stephon Castle