Jazz vs. Nuggets pregame notes: Karl talks pick-and-roll defense and more

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

George Karl talked about his defensive philosophy on pick-and-rolls, JaVale McGee's free throw form, and more at today's shoot-around.

George Karl said tonight that Timofey Mozgov may see some time on the floor and that he might implement a twin tower lineup with Mozgov and JaVale McGee when the second unit is on the floor. You should expect to see some other experiments with the bigs tonight too if Karl wants to give Mozgov time against this big Jazz team. Utah features centers Al Jefferson and Enes Kanter and power forwards Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors.

"Their big guys are going to get a lot of touches. This is a low-post offensive team," said Karl. "They are definitely going to touch it down there thirty, forty, or fifty times. We're going to have to get our big guys engaged and if we have to double-team, we have to be ready for that too."

Karl was also asked about the three-point shooting of the Jazz. The additions of Mo Williams, Randy Foye, and Marvin Williams allows Utah to spread the floor a little more than they did last season. And Gordon Hayward has been improving his long-range shooting as well. Karl said he is aware of their transition threes and pointed to Mo and Gordon specifically to watch from the outside when the team is on the fast-break.

Karl is a little happier with his team's defensive performances and is hoping he'll see continued improvement on the defensive end.

"I'm positive that our defensive performance in Houston can be built upon. That was our best pick-and-roll defense of the year, by far," Karl said. "Utah doesn't run as many pick-and-rolls, but we still have to be effective."

Many Stiffs wanted to know what Karl's philosophy was on the pick-and-roll coverage this season. As I asked this question I suspected that the Nuggets' coverage would depend on who the team was playing and which players were involved in said pick-and-roll and Karl echoed that thought with his answer.

"It depends on who we got in the pick-and-rolls, what their philosophies are, and are they trying to get a perimeter [shot]," said Karl. "In general, our concept is to try to keep it on the sideline, and keep it left [when it is] in the middle. We do a lot of switching. A Tony Parker, we don't want to give him a free sideline, so we send him [to the] middle. There are other guys like that."

These Utah Jazz haven't had John Stockton and Karl Malone or Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer for years now, but Mo Williams is a dangerous scoring point guard. How will the Nuggets handle him tonight?

"Mo [Williams], we'll give him the sideline tonight and see how he does, but it comes in the personality of the team and what they try to get in the pick-and-rolls," said Karl. "The worst defensive game we had in pick-and-rolls was against Detroit. And the best defensive game [in pick-and-rolls] was [James] Harden. It seems like we didn't respect Detroit as much as we respected what Harden can do in the pick-and-rolls."

Karl also said that Wilson Chandler would be a game-time decision tonight and that he'd rather play him this evening rather than tomorrow night against the Warriors. When asked about how they decide to play Chandler in back-to-back sets, Karl said they look at when he can get the most rest. If Chandler plays tonight, Karl said he can get Wilson a full two days rest as his next game wouldn't come until Monday against the Phoenix Suns ... in Arizona of course!

Views you can use:

-JaVale McGee heads into the evening with the second highest free throw percentage on the team at 88% (8-9 on the season). Karl talked about JaVale's improved shooting stroke:

"He has worked on that a lot on his own. His form came back. His balance is better. He seems to be holding his follow through a little bit; instead of jabbing it," Karl said. "My belief in shooting is just repetition. I think the best teacher is in watching that ball go through the net time-and-time again and then getting in that comfort zone."

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