For now, it appears Kerr has snuffed out this particular fire, but managing the offense of four All-Stars will likely remain a challenge. It’s a challenge any coach would readily accept, but that truth doesn’t magically fix the issue. No matter what Kerr does, someone won’t be getting the ball enough. Since Golden State has emphasized Curry, KD’s shot attempts and usage have suffered a slight dip.
“I look at the numbers,” Kerr said of the distribution of shots between stars. “We obviously play a little different than most teams. We’ve been last in the NBA in pick-and-roll plays three years in a row. We do a lot of stuff off the ball. So obviously with KD’s arrival, the dynamics changed a little bit. So, Steph has the ball a little less this year. So does KD. Sometimes I’ll just, if I think Steph needs the ball more, I’ll call more plays for him. But for the most part, it kind of happens organically.”
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A 6-2 finish, powered by a much-improved defense, wasn’t enough to satisfy observers who last saw this franchise make the playoffs 10 years ago. (The Buccaneers’ most recent playoff victory was 15 years ago in Super Bowl XXXVII.) But there is plenty to build on here. Tampa Bay had the NFL’s fourth-best scoring defense (17.1 points per game) over the final eight weeks of the season, and the duo of quarterback Jameis Winston and receiver Mike Evans is promising.
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General manager Jason Licht will have a projected $65 million in cap space if he wants to augment the roster. Some of that will be needed for a Winston contract extension, which could come as early as 2018, but the Buccaneers have plenty to spend. Licht hasn’t been shy in the past.