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Warriors’ Camp Proving Intense, Competitive

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.”

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Skinny Warriors looking to pick up the pace

Andrew Bogut has lost about 15 to 18 pounds. Draymond Green shed about 20. David Lee is now looking like he should be standing in front of Abercrombie & Fitch. Jermaine O’Neal is hardly looking like a guy entering his 18th season.

Clearly, the Warriors took advantage of the offseason. The improved conditioning has already impacted training camp. The pace is faster. The energy is high.

“They are in shape,” coach Mark Jackson said, “and now its just a question of developing chemistry and a sense of what we are trying to do on both ends of the court.”

He wants the Warriors to play at an even faster pace now that all are healthy and his big men are conditioned to run. Jackson said he isn’t content with just going small to pick up the pace. But he wants to run even with his big men in the game.

Jackson said since his guys – most of whom have been working out in Oakland since early September – came to camp in shape, he doesn’t have to worry about that. He said there’s no need to go “White Shadow” on them and have them running lines.

Instead, Jackson has already begun diving into the playbook.

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