Toney Douglas played college ball in the vaunted ACC and cut his NBA teeth playing home games at Madison Square Garden. And he makes his living on the defensive end of the court. So he knows something about intensity.
His comments about Warriors practices, following Day 3 of training camp on Monday, comes with that context.
“Oh yeah. Every possession,” said Douglas, who signed with the Warriors in July to back-up Stephen Curry. “This is a different level. … We’re so deep. We have like 12 guys who could play. Blue team against white team, and we go at each other We make it fun and we make each other better.”
Coach Mark Jackson said being two deep at every possession, with some capable talent at the end of the bench, has made for some competitive practices. The drop off in talent on the depth chart is minimal enough to force the best players to go hard, yet the gap is wide enough to make the reserves have to step it up to earn minutes.
You better believe Curry has his hands full in practice, either being hounded by the pesky Douglas or trying to get around the long and athletic Kent Bazemore. Veteran center Jermaine O’Neal described going up against starting center Andrew Bogut as “a wrestling match.”
Forward David Lee and Marreese Speights, former Florida Gators, are buddies with a history of going at each other, and Speights has the skills to make Lee look bad if he doesn’t bring it. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are both having to contend with the All-NBA-caliber defense of Andre Iguodala.
And you know whoever second-year work horse Draymond Green gets matched up with is getting the business.
“We were an extremely hard working team in the past, and we’re continuing that,” Jackson said. “The difference right now is probably the battles at every position. … I think that’s what stands out the most. Last year we had young guys facing Bogut or David. … This year, there are big live bodies that are really competing and attacking one another.”
Jackson said because most of the team has been working out together since early September, he doesn’t have to do two-a-days (they had just one session Monday).
Speights, who played 100 games with one of the most physical teams in the league in Memphis, concurred with Douglas’ assessment. He said Warriors camp seems to take the intensity and competitiveness up a notch.
“This is a different level,” he said. “This is a real good team. You really can’t take a day off in practice.”