5 Words from Castle's coach should win Spurs fans over immediately: draft grade

The San Antonio Spurs used their 4th overall draft pick on UCONN guard Stephon Castle, but how does he fit?
Adam Silver, Stephon Castle
Adam Silver, Stephon Castle / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The first round of the 2024 NBA Draft has concluded, and the Spurs were more active than usual. Fans know San Antonio is usually quiet during the most active periods of the season, whether it be on or off. They don't make a ton of noise, despite the smoke screens that were so obvious that numerous outlets said as much. The Spurs were never going to draft Donovan Clingan. Don't let anyone fool you.

They got exactly what they needed in a starting guard in today's NBA. UConn guard Stephon Castle brings size to a position that desperately needs it. Tre Jones is 6'1 on a good day. Blake Wesley has some dog in him, but he's not very imposing, and the league demands you have defenders with their own mass; otherwise, you'll be caught in a mismatch. Good teams leverage their advantages repeatedly. The Spurs are smart to plan against that.

Stephon Castle is the safest pick for the Spurs

You can teach shooting but it's much more difficult to instill the value of relentlessness in somebody. Castle brings a never-say-die attitude to the floor that the rest of the players will benefit from. It's already been established that Victor Wembanyama has a dog in him, but he can't be the only one. That's not something fans will have to worry about with the former Husky.

Stephon Castle played point guard back in high school, but when he made it to UConn, they didn't need that for him. He relished the opportunity to do whatever it took to help his team win, something Spurs fans should gravitate to, considering the comparison to Manu Ginobili's selflessness. You have to understand that turning yourself into a grit guy at the expense of being the main playmaker can potentially hurt your draft stock if you don't flourish.

Castle didn't have a problem falling into that role—a decision that helped his team win the NCAA Championship. When you examine his mindset as a young player willing to put aside his own goals for the benefit of the team, he's a perfect fit for San Antonio. The best part is that this pick does not compromise the timeline. Castle will be ready to contribute at a high level sooner rather than later, granted his shot comes around. His dedication to his team encourages that idea.

Once he rounds out his game, you'll have a player who can defend just about any guard in the league while he runs an offense that takes the pressure off him to run every facet because Wembanyama is such a great playmaker. Vassell and Sochan will also handle some playmaking responsibilities. If there's anything the Boston Celtics have shown the basketball world, it's the importance of defensive versatility and the Spurs just added some of their own.

Grade: A