The Orlando Magic closed the second season of their post-Dwight Howard rebuild Wednesday in a 101-86 loss to the Indiana Pacers, marking their fourth straight defeat and giving them the league's third-worst record. Earlier that day, two prominent national NBA writers offered their takeaways from Orlando's year.
In a broader piece about the tanking problem the league faces, CBSSports.com scribe Matt Moore touched on Orlando's season. "The Magic are brewing a strong batch, and they're not going to rush the drip," writes Moore, who agrees that Orlando "tanked" its season but gave it high marks for its execution of that plan, praising the team for not "aggressively pursu[ing] improvements." He concludes that neither the Magic nor the Philadelphia 76ers should feel "shame" for how they went about their respective rebuilding plans in the 2013/14 season.
At Sports Illustrated, Ben Golliver offers a more sobering, but no less clearheaded, view, grading Orlando's performance as a "C," up from the "C-minus" mark it earned at midseason. According to Golliver, the Magic had a "ho hum" year. He praises Rob Hennigan, the team's second-year general manager, for his willingness to buy out Hedo Türkoğlu and Glen Davis in order to chart "a clear course for the present and future." But for the Magic to take the next step, says Golliver, Hennigan "desperately needs to land a franchise-changing talent."
I find both assessments fair, measured, and well-argued, but I wanted to turn the discussion over to the Orlando Pinstriped Post community: what did you make of these pieces? How would you grade Orlando's season? Did the Magic tank, in your estimation, and if so, was that move the right one to make? Let's hash it out in the comments section.