Prior to L.A.’s Thursday evening contest in Denver — which Phil Jackson called the team’s biggest test of the season — his Nuggets’ coaching counterpart George Karl had the following to say about Pau Gasol after watching some Lakers film throughout the past few days:
Gasol … I don’t want to tell you how good I thought he was. He was really good in the games I watched. My thing with my staff was, who has played better than this kid in the last 10 years? A big guy. Name a big guy that’s playing better than (Gasol right now). He (and Odom) are great rebounders, they’re good runners and they’re efficient. When they touch the ball, something good happens. One game, Gasol had to be like 85 percent. Decisions – he’s making passing decisions, he’s making low-post decisions, he’s making high-post decisions, transition decisions. He’s playing like a guard a little bit.
Karl also shared that he’d prefer to have his team guard Gasol when he’s playing the high post – as he does more often when Andrew Bynum’s in the game – than the low post, but explained why it’s a ‘pick your poison’ game:
I’d prefer him in the high post. I beleive the further away you are, the worse percentage you’re going to shoot. But he’s still pretty good out there. The further he gets away from the basket, the more he’s a distributor. But they do a good job of balancing, they’re going to put him in both places. What he’s done very good is he and Kobe have gotten a knack, Kobe draws two and they throw it to (Gasol) and he finds the open man. Most teams have to cover Kobe with two, or at least one and a half.