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NBA Draft 2019

NBA Draft 2019: Which teams have the most at stake during the draft?

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The Grizzlies, Knicks and Hawks all have plenty on the line in the 2019 draft (NBA Getty Images)

The NBA Draft can be a franchise-altering moment that completely changes the trajectory of a team for the next decade.

For better or worse!

Every year, some teams have more at stake than others while some emerge the day of the draft with a bold move that few expected.

Sure, there are winners and losers that won't crystallize until years down the line.

Will a team pass over a future superstar like the Minnesota Timberwolves did in 2009 by selecting Jonny Flynn one pick ahead of Stephen Curry?

Will a team strike gold outside of the lottery like the Milwaukee Bucks did in 2013 when they drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick?

In the present, some teams have far more at stake than others in this year's draft. We put it to our Global NBA.com staff to give us their thoughts on the team with the most at stake on draft day.

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): "For better or worse," right? I'll say the Atlanta Hawks.

Savvy front office work has put Atlanta in a great position in this draft with three picks (Nos. 8, 10 and 17) in the top 20. There are a few ways this could go.

The three picks could be packaged to move up in the draft or, in theory, any combination of two picks could be used in a similar manner. Conversely, they could stand pat and use each of their three selections to fulfill some of the needs on their roster.

That's where the risk comes in.

Yes, I'm using the term 'risk' loosely, but in this sense, the Hawks are on the cusp of expediting their rebuild into a playoff team. If Atlanta hits a home run in this draft by either parlaying these picks into one bigger name or using all three to fill some needs with raw, young talent, it would be in serious contention for a playoff seed.

They also don't want to look back in this year and wish they would have done more…or less.

Getting ahead of schedule on a rebuild can do wonders for a team and completely alter its future for the better by providing invaluable experience, just look at the Nuggets. A successful draft night for the Hawks in 2019 could be what positions the team for big things in the next three to five years.

Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): It's the New York Knicks. For months there was speculation that the Knicks would strike big in free agency and while they certainly still could, the rumour mill has cooled off significantly as it relates to the Knicks and the biggest names on the market.

That means the most significant development for the Knicks this offseason could be whatever happens during the draft.

Many expect them to take RJ Barrett with the third overall pick, a high upside wing that could develop into the best scorer in this draft. He wants to play in New York and could be the Knicks' leading scorer from Day 1.

MORE: Drawing player comparisons for RJ Barrett

But there are some doubts. Not only are the Knicks working out Darius Garland at the last minute, there is some speculation that several teams are trying to move up ahead of the Knicks in order to draft Barrett. For a team that might strike out yet again in free agency despite the months of build up, the draft might represent New York's best shot at getting a future star to finally help this franchise get back on the right track.

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): As of the recent Al Horford news, it's the Boston Celtics.

12 months ago, the Celtics were everybody's favourite to represent the Eastern Conference in this year's NBA Finals. Fast forward to now and they're coming off of the most frustrating season in recent history, never living up to their full potential, and are about to lose an All-Star and most important player (Horford) to free agency. While they still have plenty of talent - Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward, as well as a team option for Terry Rozier - their three picks in this draft give them a chance to make something happen.

Will they use all three picks now, trying to build up more young potential to work with Brown and Tatum? Will they pair the picks and try and trade up in the draft for a bigger name, as opposed to selecting later in the first round? Will they move a few picks for future picks? Will try and trade picks to other teams in return for current players that could make an impact immediately next season?

The opportunities are endless.

But with the uncertainty of which direction the Celtics will move in next - trying to quickly rebuild the team to return to a 'win now' mode or electing to use all picks and rebuild for the near-future - things should become slightly more clear as the draft unfolds.

Celtics fans: you're going to want to tune in because if you've learned anything about General Manager Danny Ainge, he always has something up his sleeve. Let's see if he shows his hand on draft night.

Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I think the Memphis Grizzlies have the most at stake.

After reportedly trading away Mike Conley to the Jazz, the Grizz are in full rebuild mode. They hit in the draft last year with Jaren Jackson Jr. who will be a key piece to their success but having the second pick in this year's draft leaves them with a ton of pressure.

All reports indicate that they're in love with Ja Morant and that's who they'll select come draft night, but with RJ Barrett expected to go third, they'll have the pressure of being the team that passed up on a potential superstar.

Memphis has surely done their due diligence on Morant but they don't want to go down in history on the team that passed up on Barrett or any other superstar from this draft class.

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