4 2024 NBA Draft prospects with ties to potential Lakers coach Dan Hurley

Potential Los Angeles Lakers head coach Dan Hurley could be a significant influence over offseason plans. That could start as soon as the 2024 NBA Draft.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Northwestern v UConn
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Northwestern v UConn / Elsa/GettyImages
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The 2024 NBA Draft will provide the Los Angeles Lakers with an opportunity to begin what could be the Dan Hurley era with a meaningful new building block. It's an essential possibility to explore as the Lakers attempt to balance the immediate sense of urgency with a long-term vision.

With Hurley widely regarded as the best head coach in men's college basketball, it would be wise to thoroughly explore his connections.

Hurley has led the Connecticut Huskies to back-to-back national championships. During that time, he's helped players make significant strides as collegiate-level athletes and NBA prospects, even helping Jordan Hawkins become a lottery pick in 2023.

In 2024, the entirety of the Huskies' starting lineup from this past season could be drafted in either the first or second round.

This could be significant information for the Lakers, which own the No. 17 and No. 55 overall selections in the 2024 NBA Draft. Hiring Hurley wouldn't necessarily mean that a UConn player would be a lock to be selected, but it certainly adds layers of intrigue.

The questions facing Rob Pelinka: Who are the top prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft with ties to Hurley and how might they fit with the Lakers?

1. Stephon Castle, Guard/Forward

A five-star recruit turned national championship-winning freshman, Stephon Castle is a projected top-10 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Standing at 6'5.5" without shoes and 210 pounds with a 6'9" wingspan, Castle is the physical prototype for the off-guard position.

With NBA-caliber quickness, strength, and leaping ability, Castle has the raw tools to become one of the best players in his class.

Castle, 19, is young and inexperienced, but flush with talent that made him a key cog on a title-winning team. He struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 26.7 percent, but he knocked down 47.2 percent of his field goal attempts overall and 75.5 percent of his free throws.

It may also be a sign of how hard he's working to improve that Castle ranked fourth at the 2024 NBA Draft Combine in on-the-move shots from college range.

It's also worth noting that Castle seemed to learn from his shortcomings as the season went on. In the NCAA Tournament, he played a starring role during the Sweet 16, Final Four, and National Championship Game, most notably dropping a team-high 21 points to lead UConn past Alabama in the national semifinal.

A strong defender with the ideal measurements and athleticism to play either wing position, Castle has the long-term potential to be a high-level player, albeit with flaws that limit his short-term appeal to the Lakers.