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The Top 10 Most Marketable Players of the 2024 NBA Draft: A Comprehensive Analysis

The Top 10 Most Marketable Players of the 2024 NBA Draft: A Comprehensive Analysis

Jun 19, 2024

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Corey Bruno

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Sports Marketing

This year's NBA draft heralds the dawn of the Athlete-Creator era, where athletes are increasingly leveraging content creation off the court to expand their reach and engage audiences through social media.

Our team has discovered a remarkable trend: this draft is packed with bona fide athlete creators, from social media influencers to prolific content producers, and under-the-radar talents who can significantly boost a team's and brands marketability, even as second-round picks. 

Inspired by the phenomenal success of the WNBA's social media stars, we've curated a list of the top 10 NBA athlete-creator prospects to watch closely this year.

Jared McCain A+

Duke University

Social Media Stats

1.1M Instagram Followers , 2.8M TikTok Followers, 12.8% Overall Engagement Rate, 85% Instagram Follower Growth (2024), & 45% TikTok Follower Growth (2024)

Breakdown

Jared McCain is the quintessential superstar athlete-creator of this year's NBA Draft. He has consistently produced content while maximizing his opportunities at Duke. Authentic and unafraid to share his passions, McCain's genuine personality sets him apart. During his last appearance in March Madness, he saw a 30% growth on Instagram. Imagine the impact he'll have at the next level.

Bronny James A

University of Southern California

Social Media Stats

7.5M Instagram Followers, 5.8M TikTok Followers, 30% TikTok Engagement Rate, & 18M Avg. Tiktok Views

Breakdown

Bronny boasts the largest reach of any college athlete in the United States, thanks in part to being LeBron James' son. Despite this, he consistently produces high-quality content and offers authentic glimpses into his life, especially around his family. While he hasn't been active on TikTok since 2021, he continues to create engaging content on Instagram.

Rob Dillingham A

University of Kentucky

Social Media Stats

737K Instagram Followers, 330K TikTok Followers, 21% Overall Engagement Rate, 757K Avg. Tiktok Views, & 35% Instagram Follower Growth (2024)

Breakdown

Dillingham exemplifies a star athlete elevating his profile by building a massive brand on TikTok and Instagram. With over a million followers and a powerful engagement rate, he showcases his outfits, personality, humor, and glimpses of his life beyond basketball. Although he might rank #1 on the athlete-creator list in most years, two massive creators ahead of him keep him just shy of the top spot. Nonetheless, Dillingham remains in a tier well above the rest.

Matas Buzelis - B+

G League Ignite

Social Media Stats

104K Instagram Followers & 39K TikTok Followers

Breakdown

Projected as a top 10 pick from Lithuania, Buzelis amplifies his basketball performances through his social media platforms. He consistently shares high-quality videos of his dominant playstyle on Instagram and TikTok, highlighting his inspiring grind-first mindset, in-game and practice highlights, and passion for the game. Buzelis serves as a role model for young hoopers across his home country, bringing them along his journey to the NBA on social media.

Kyle Flipowksi B+

Duke University

Social Media Stats

60K Instagram Followers, 39K TikTok Followers, 30% Overall Engagement Rate, 193K Avg. Tiktok Views, & 39% Paid Post Performance

Breakdown

Kyle Flipkowski was a fan favorite at Duke, not just for his on-court dominance but also for his authentic and engaging social media content. He shares his passion for the game, collaborations with other athletes, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of his life through humorous and creative posts. This sets him apart from his peers in content creation and makes him an ideal candidate for future brand representation.

Ron Holland B

G League Ignite

Social Media Stats

57K Instagram Followers & 42K TikTok Followers 

Breakdown

Ron Holland, projected as a mid-first round pick, has maintained remarkable consistency on social media, meticulously chronicling his athletic journey. His engaging videos resonate deeply with basketball fans, offering glimpses into his pursuit of dreams and the behind-the-scenes life as a G-League hooper. Moreover, Ron's natural humor and vibrant personality shine through as he creatively involves teammates, enhancing the appeal of his content.

AJ Johnson

Illawara (NBL)

Social Media Stats

109K Instagram Followers & 29K TikTok Followers

Breakdown

Despite being a projected mid-second round pick, AJ Johnson boasts impressive marketability on social media, making him an attractive partner for brands. He has steadily built a strong following by sharing behind-the-scenes content of his on-court work and showcasing his upbeat personality on TikTok. His posts often achieve massive virality on Instagram. While AJ may not be a top pick, he still commands a large and engaged audience on social media.

Jamal Shead

University of Houston

Social Media Stats

23K Instagram Followers, 21K TikTok Followers, 20% Instagram Engagement Rate, 30% Paid Post Performance, & 83% Instagram Follower Growth (2024).

Breakdown

Our sleeper pick, Jamal Shead, has the fewest followers on this list, likely due to UH's smaller market compared to other players. However, Jamal maximizes his content's impact with his genuine personality, always smiling and posting a wide range of engaging content. He has already proven himself as a phenomenal brand ambassador for Electrolit, while possessing other NIL deals under his belt. We predict Jamal will continue to elevate his content creation to the next level when he joins his new team next week.

Reed Sheppard B-

University of Kentucky

Social Media Stats

116K Instagram Followers, 16K TikTok Followers, 65% Instagram Follower Growth (2024), & 18.5% Instagram Engagement Rate

Breakdown

Reed Sheppard, a projected top-10 pick, also possesses modest content creation skills. His in-game success at Kentucky has boosted his social media presence, with his heartfelt thank-you video to the school garnering nearly 1 million views on Instagram. While he hasn't been highly active on Instagram reels, he enjoys posting fun videos on TikTok. If Reed commits to enhancing his content creation in the NBA, and shows more of his personality he has significant potential for major growth.

Justin Edwards C+

University of Kentucky

Social Media Stats

52K Instagram Followers & 16k TikTok Followers

Breakdown

Rounding out our top 10 is another Wildcat, Justin Edwards. While he has a solid Instagram following of over 50K, he doesn't post frequently. However, on TikTok, where he has 16K followers, Justin consistently shares content from his basketball journey at Kentucky, his off-court lifestyle, motivational messages, and collaborations with teammates and other players. A recent collaboration with Bronny James garnered almost 900K views on Justin's account. If Justin continues to grow his TikTok presence, his success is poised to soar in the NBA.

Honorable Mention: 

Bobi Klintman 

Cairns (NBL)

Social Media Stats

14K Instagram Followers & 17K Instagram Followers



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Ready to stay ahead in the world of Athlete Marketing?