2024 NBA Draft: Ranking the top point guard prospects, including UConn's Stephon Castle

Yahoo Sports is breaking down the top players in the 2024 NBA Draft by position this week. First up, the point guards, led by UConn's Stephon Castle, who is projected inside the top 5 and has elected to turn down workouts with teams that already have established floor generals.

This class also features a number of smaller guards who were productive during the college season and could be first- or second-round picks. Here are the five best lead guards projected in the draft, along with others to watch who could lead second units next season. The NBA Draft will take place in New York on June 26-27.

1. Stephon Castle

Ht./Wt.: 6-6, 215 pounds | Age: 19

The UConn freshman has been one of the biggest risers during the pre-draft process and with how well he closed out the college season, helping lead the Huskies to back-to-back titles. Castle started the season late following a knee injury and struggled to find his shooting rhythm, but he was incredible in the final two games of the season. In UConn's win over Alabama, Castle finished with 21 points (7-for-13 from the field) and shot 2-for-6 from 3-point range. In the championship game, Castle played both on and off the ball and had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. He was also one of the best defensive guards in college basketball tasked with guarding the opposing team's best perimeter player all season.

During the combine, Castle showed off an improved 3-point jumper (after shooting just 26.7% from 3) and finished third overall in the 3-point star shooting drill (18-for-25). He has good size at 6-foot-6 and the potential to be one of the best two-way lead guards in this draft class. Castle could go as high as No. 2 to the Washington Wizards and is thought to be a target for the Spurs, Rockets and Hornets, who are all drafting in the top six.

2. Nikola Topić

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 201 pounds | Age: 18

Topić is starting to fall toward the back end of the lottery after it was revealed he has a partially torn ACL and measured at only 6-5.5" with a 6-5 wingspan at the draft combine in Italy last week. Earlier reports last fall claimed the Serbian guard was closer to 6-7 with a 7-foot wingspan. It's a devastating blow for Topić after he was projected inside the top five nearly all season long with his ability to facilitate, averaging 5.5 assists per game. Topić was able to meet with teams in person last week and will travel to the U.S. to get reevaluated by NBA doctors leading up to the draft.

Teams that have the luxury to be patient with his recovery and wait a year for him to hit the court could still take a swing on the 18-year-old. Memphis, Utah and Sacramento are all possible landing spots.

3. Rob Dillingham

Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 164 pounds | Age: 19

The 6-2 Dillingham has been one of the most exciting players to watch with his quickness, flashy passing and improved shot creation. He came off the bench during his one season at Kentucky and averaged 15.2 points and 3.9 assists in 23 minutes. But Dillingham is a bit undersized as an NBA lead guard and is limited defensively with what he showed in the backcourt this past season as a freshman. His draft stock is all over the place after he didn't go through agility or shooting drills at the combine or participate in the Klutch pro day, citing a sore ankle.

Dillingham would be a fun fit in San Antonio alongside Victor Wembanyama and is also a player the Jazz, Bulls, Kings or Heat could be targeting to come in and lead the second unit.

4. Devin Carter

Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 195 pounds | Age: 22

Carter was one of the best guards in the Big East this season, averaging 19.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists during his junior season at Providence. He broke the draft combine 3/4-court sprint record (2.87 seconds) and tied for first with the highest max vertical jump at 42 inches. His energy on the court during shooting drills was infectious and many scouts and executives left the combine high on Carter, who is one of the best rebounding guards in this draft class and makes quick decisions when the ball is in his hands. Carter could sneak inside the top 10 with the Spurs, Jazz and Kings (his most recent workout) as potential landing spots.

5. Carlton "Bub" Carrington

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 190 pounds| Age: 18

Carrington seemingly came out of nowhere during his freshman year at Pittsburgh after being ranked a four-star prospect entering the college season. His creativity off the bounce sets him apart from other lead guards in this draft and he can slide into either backcourt spot with how well he cuts off the ball as well. Carrington averaged 13.8 points and 4.1 assists in the ACC and could be a sleeper in the lottery, with a lot of interest from several teams between picks 8-20.

Next up

USC's Isaiah Collier struggled all season, but scouts were pleased to see him return after his hand injury and finish out his freshman year. Coming into the year, his 3-point shot was an area of development and, even though he's still a work in progress, his court vision and pace translate better to the NBA game as opposed to his role at USC this past year. His draft range is anywhere from late lottery to early 20s.

Jared McCain shot the ball extremely well at the draft combine and teams are going to love how hard he works. The Duke guard set the team record for most 3s in a single NCAA tournament game when he went 8-for-11 against James Madison in the second round.

One of the older guards in this draft class at 23 years old, Tyler Kolek (Marquette) is smart and shifty, moving with intention to play to his strengths and trying to finish with his left hand or on the left side. He is also a very good passer and plays bigger than his 6-1 frame with how well he finishes through contact.

Senior guards Jamal Shead (Houston) and KJ Simpson (Colorado) were the best point guards during the combine's 5-on-5 scrimmages. Shead impressed on both ends even though he still wasn't playing 100% after an ankle injury he suffered against Duke in the NCAA tournament. Simpson loves to get in the lane and has a nice floater, and he has shown an extension to his game past the 3-point line.

Scouts and decision makers around the league have a hard time seeing Bronny James as a true NBA point guard, but he reads the defense well off the pick-and-roll and can defend on the perimeter. The Lakers are favored to land the 6-2 guard out of USC with the 55th pick in the upcoming draft as he continues to work on his game and develop a bit more before meaningful minutes in the NBA.

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