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NBA Draft 2019: Which teams have the most on the line?

By Opta

Los Angeles, June 19: This year's NBA Draft could help a number of teams accelerate their progress toward success - or set them back.

Just a few picks could change the direction of a franchise and some of them have a lot on the line in 2019.

We take a look at three such sides ahead of Thursday's draft.

New York Knicks

New York had their sights set on getting the top pick and selecting Zion Williamson, but things did not shake out that way. Instead, the Knicks ended up with the number three overall pick and are expected to select RJ Barrett, another Duke star.

The Knicks appeared to be front-runners to land Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer, too, but recent reports suggest otherwise.

The team were also was reluctant to part with young assets to land the New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis in a trade and missed that train, as the Los Angeles Lakers forked over a massive hall to secure the superstar.

In a market that emphasises going for championships as soon as possible, making the right selection on Thursday is imperative.

Phoenix Suns

Yet another victim of unexpected draft lottery results, the Suns were banking on landing in the top three. They instead sit at sixth.

Phoenix are in dire need of a point guard, with their makeshift depth chart at the position causing the young team plenty of problems last season. It seems unlikely that the Suns will get a chance to select Ja Morant, though, 2019's most coveted floor general.

Darius Garland could be a good consolation prize, though. He was productive at Vanderbilt in a limited college career hampered by an early knee injury. However, reports suggest Phoenix would also be willing to trade for a veteran guard who is ready to play now.

The Suns' assortment of combo wings has not led to much success so far, so they need to discover some sense of direction, especially since they have a new coach and general manager.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets could this offseason lose what has brought most fans to games. Kemba Walker is coming off a career year in which he averaged 25.6 points per game and was third-team All-NBA.

Walker, 29, qualified for a supermax deal, which could cripple Charlotte and limit their ability to build a better team around him. He is willing to take less, but he also wants to win - very soon.

The Hornets have significant money tied up in players like Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nic Batum and Bismack Biyombo, who have not contributed much of late. But they also have young assets like Miles Bridges and Malik Monk that could be used for leverage in a big trade.

Charlotte have the number 12 pick in Thursday's draft but are reportedly looking for a way to move up. The Hornets will have to do so to get the game-changer they need.

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Story first published: Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 3:40 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 19, 2019
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