The player most often referred to as the “Bulldog” has been making a name for himself recently, most notably in the last two blowout victories for the Miami Heat. Toney Douglas was part of a three-team trade that took him from a solid role off the second unit with the Golden State Warriors to a cold spot on the furthest end of the bench for the Heat. It took the absences of Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen from for Douglas to finally see some significant playing time, and he has absolutely taken advantage of it.
In the last two games that Douglas has started, he has contributed significant minutes, averaging about 34.5. In these two games, Douglas has averaged 11 points, seven rebounds, 4.5 assists and one steal while shooting 46.5 percent from the field. These are stellar numbers for a backup guard, especially one that is considered a third-string replacement.
One of Douglas’s most underrated skills is his defense. Due to his age and size, Douglas is one of the quicker defenders in the league, and can hold his own against some of the top guards in the NBA. Douglas has recently had to defend Damian Lillard, Brandon Jennings and Brandon Knight one-on-one while starting. He helped hold all three players to under 20 points and 30 percent shooting from the field.
If sustained injuries force some of the Heat’s starting guards to continue resting, Douglas will continue to have the opportunity to gain quality playing time, which could lead to more opportunities down the stretch. Don’t expect Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to rely on Douglas heavily once the playoffs arrive, but having a backup guard who can score quickly and play solid defense is never a bad thing to have in your back pocket.