As the season winds down, and their chances of making the playoffs quickly evaporates, the Orlando Magic face what some many consider a tough dilemma. Do they tank the remaining 12 games of the season with hopes of improving their draft stock, or do they go out and try to improve and win as many games as possible?
The answer should be quite simple.
After three seasons of tanking to attempt and get the highest draft pick possible, the Magic were expected to begin to turn the corner this season and show that they're making the strides towards becoming a winning team. While they were able to do that early, things have been tough since the turn of the new year.
Despite all their recent losing -- the team has won just three times in their 12 contests this month -- the team has still shown signs of improving, which is a welcoming sign. Over their past three games, all losses to playoff teams in the Eastern Conference, the Magic have played better through spurts in three contests, showing that the work they're putting in is starting to pay off, even if they aren't walking away with victories.
Moreover, losing now does not do the team much good.
Many times over this season, the team has shown some of the same things that crippled them from taking home more victories over the past three seasons. Their inability to close games, and consistently manufacture offense continues to plague them, with the defense not showing the same life it did in the opening two months of the season.
Continuing to lose keeps growing those bad habits, which ultimately can limit a teams upside and growth potential. Losing more and more intentionally this season continues to let the thought that losing is okay creep into players' heads, which can hurt them, especially in late, close games.
Add in the fact that the team very well could, and quite possibly should, move their draft pick at or before the draft, losing might not help them that much.
Needless to say, the choice of what they should do is simple: go out, and win as many games as possible and continue to build something towards next season. Heading into the offseason with little to no momentum at all casts a shadow over the franchise they don't need, especially in such an important offseason.