NBA Draft 2024: Spurs aim for NCAA champion

Serbian playmaker Nikola Topic seems to be a natural fit for the San Antonio Spurs. With their number 4 or 8 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Spurs could sign a talented young player for a position where they are desperately needed. However, the Spurs' front office could focus on another point guard.

In fact, UConn playmaker Stephon Castle is “most strongly associated with San Antonio,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Woo.

Spurs target Stephon Castle

“It's been difficult for NBA teams to schedule Castle for practice, so it remains to be seen exactly where that will land him on draft night,” Woo reports. “Teams eyeing him will be watching closely to see if he decides to increase his availability in the coming weeks. He's been linked most heavily to San Antonio, but … there will be prospects elsewhere in the top 10, and the Utah Jazz could potentially be a good fit.”

In the 2023/24 season, Castle was named Big East Rookie of the Year and NCAA All-Tournament. He averaged 11.1 points, 2.9 assists and 0.8 steals per game and made 47.2 percent of his shots from the field and 26.7 percent from the three-point line. His long-range jump shot is a glaring weakness. Nevertheless, at 6'6″ and 205 lbs., he has what it takes to be one of the NBA's best defenders.

As a two-way playmaker, Castle is a tempting option for a San Antonio team looking to field an oversized starting lineup.

What about the Nikola theme?

Topic, who was long considered a top-five pick, recently suffered a partially torn ACL, so “it wouldn't be surprising if he needs a redshirt season,” according to ESPN's Jonathan Givony. However, the Spurs, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers “are being viewed by teams as possible destinations, pending a full evaluation of his medical results by team physicians, which have not yet been distributed.”

However, there is still a chance that San Antonio will sign Topic.

Topic is another huge point guard at 6'6″ and 200 pounds. His size, ball-handling ability and canter allow him to get into the zone almost at will. He doesn't get stuck in quicksand when moving around the court, but he's averagely athletic for a player his size. While his recent injury is a concern, his production isn't based on outstanding explosiveness.

Topic is also a better playmaker than Castle, which in and of itself makes him a better point guard. Up to this point, Topic is a traditional distributor who reads complex passes and makes difficult passes. Castle is a connecting passer who uses simple but effective ball movement.