Will Stephon Castle's point guard desires push away Hornets as draft fit?

Castle, a projected top-10 pick, has been linked heavily to the Hornets. Could that now change?
Connecticut Huskies guard Stephon Castle (5) cuts the basketball net after winning the Men's NCAA
Connecticut Huskies guard Stephon Castle (5) cuts the basketball net after winning the Men's NCAA / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY

During the 2024 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, Illinois, top-ranked prospects were on the scene more than years past. Due to new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement rules, prospects are now required to be in attendance for the combine. This also allowed the media to fully introduce themselves to this relatively unknown batch of prospects, widely-known as one of the most down years in a decade.

When speaking earlier this week, Connecticut combo guard Stephon Castle continued to hint at an interesting notion. Not only does Castle want to play point guard full-time in the Association, which he did as a five-star recruit in high school, but he might even sway his prioritized destinations because of it.

“I feel my true position his point guard, and I feel the last few months I had to sacrifice for the betterment of the team,” Castle said.

Castle is viewed as one of the safest lottery-level prospects because of his immediate impact expected on the defensive end. At 6-foot-6 with a sturdy frame already at 19-years-old, Castle projects to be able to guard one through three with ease. Castle has even received comparisons from some NBA scouts to Knicks do-it-all wing Josh Hart.

During his one collegiate season with the Huskies, Castle averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals/blocks. Castle certainly showed off his all-around versatility, but the big question mark for him is perimeter shooting.

Currently, due to those shooting woes, Castle is projected to play more off-ball than become a primary offensive initiator.

Castle believes there’s a lot of untapped upside for NBA executives to see with him as the primary point guard.

“I feel like I have a pretty underrated skillset in that way,” Castle said. “I feel like I demonstrated that a lot more in high school, because I was on the ball a lot more. Yeah, I feel like I can see the court pretty well and get guys shots right in the pocket. So, I feel like that’s a trait a point guard needs to have in this league. It’s one I think I have.”

From that answer alone, Castle seems ready to prove he’s a primary initiator on the next level alongside bringing elite defense to the table.

What Castle said shortly after about a team already with a starting point guard in place is what really got everyone’s attention.

“They have a star point guard in Ja Morant,” Castle said of his potential fit with the Grizzlies at No. 9 overall. “I feel like I can fit onto any kind of team. I feel like my game is pretty flexible. I feel like I can play with any kinds of guys in any kind of way. But I also feel like I made that sacrifice in college. Now, we’re talking about my career, and that’s something I take pride in. Now, I really want to play the one. So, that’s just something to think about.”

Very, very, very interesting indeed there from Castle. So, not only does he seem to indicate not wanting to be drafted by Memphis, but what about any other lottery team with a starting point guard in tow?

So, is it time to rule out the Hornets because of LaMelo Ball’s presence? Maybe, because this seems to hint at Castle and his camp potentially trying to push to a team where there’s no current point guard.

For that reason alone, I’m now keeping my eye on Castle sliding in the lottery to find his preferred destination.

This is not the first time we’ve seen this either. Tyrese Haliburton reportedly did this to land with the Kings to play alongside De’Aaron Fox, and as we know both are now thriving apart from one another.

The 2024 NBA Draft is only five weeks away, so stay tuned to Swarm & Sting for all your latest go-to draft coverage leading up to when Charlotte is on the clock at No. 6 overall.