This year's NBA Draft could help quite a few teams accelerate their progress toward success — or set them back.
It's crazy how a few picks can change the direction of a franchise, and some have a lot on the line in 2019.
NBA Draft 2019: 3 teams with the most on the line
New York Knicks
New York had its sights set on getting the top pick and selecting Zion Williamson, but things didn't shake out its way. Instead, the Knicks ended up with the No. 3 overall pick and are expected to select another Duke star, RJ Barrett.
The Knicks appeared to be front-runners to land Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer, but recent reports suggest otherwise. New York also was reluctant to part with young assets to land the Pelicans' Anthony Davis in a trade and missed that train, as the Lakers forked over a massive hall to secure the superstar.
In a market that emphasizes going for championships as soon as possible, making the right selection is imperative.
Yet another victim of unexpected draft lottery results, the Suns were banking on landing in the top three, but instead sit at sixth.
Phoenix is in dire need of a point guard, as it's makeshift depth chart at the position caused the young team plenty of problems last season. It seems unlikely that the Suns will get a chance to select Ja Morant out of Murray State — 2019's most coveted floor general.
Darius Garland appears as if he could be a consolation prize, though. He was productive at Vanderbilt in a limited college career hampered by an early knee injury. However, reports suggest Phoenix also is willing to trade for a veteran guard who is ready to play now.
The Suns' assortment of combo wings hasn't 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.
The Hornets this offseason could 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 its 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 haven't contributed much in recent seasons. But they also have young assets like Miles Bridges and Malik Monk that they could use for leverage in a trade for a big-time player.
Charlotte has the No. 12 pick in Thursday's draft but is reportedly looking for a way to move up. The Hornets need a game-changer, and it's not likely they'll find one at No. 12 who can make a difference immediately on a playoff team.