The early word on the 2013 NBA Draft is that it'll be rather thin at the top and likely one of the weakest classes in recent years. The last draft class to elicit such a tepid reaction was 2006, a year in which there was no real consensus number one pick. Many fans saw Texas forward LaMarcus Aldridge as the top choice, but Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo was smitten with Italy's Andrea Bargnani.
It's easy to see why Colangelo and other GMs had Bargnani pegged as the best talent in the draft – his combination of athleticism and outside shooting is wildly impressive for a 7-footer. In recent years, the Raptors have worked to build an offense and a roster around Bargnani and his unusual skill set. At this point, however, the plan isn't working as well as Colangelo would have hoped. Toronto hasn't seen the postseason since 2007/08 and they're not likely to return this year as they sit in the cellar of the Atlantic at 4-16.
Bargnani hasn't been playing up to his ability in the first 20 games of this campaign and his stat line shows it. The big man's numbers are down across the board as he is averaging 17.0 PPG and just 4.6 boards. Bargnani was never confused for Rick Mahorn on the court, but his rebounding ability appears to have regressed even further. His trade value obviously isn't what it once was, but it might be time for the Raptors to cut the cord and start fresh. At the very least, the Raptors know that there's still a fan of Bargnani's in Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. Bargnani is the perfect forward for D'Antoni's trigger-happy offense and can help detract pressure away from center Dwight Howard. The Raptors might not be as excited about Pau Gasol given his current woes, but they could explore a three-way trade to get the right mix of NBA-ready talent in return.