This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder will most likely be two of the top-four teams in the Western Conference this upcoming season. Here are five of the most intriguing matchups between these two teams:
1. Stephen Curry vs. Russell Westbrook
Curry and Westbrook are arguably two of the best point guards in the league. However, they play completely differently. We all know that Curry is one of the best shooters in the NBA. He shot an incredible 45.3 percent from three last season, and he can score in many different ways. He’s also one of the best and most creative passers in the league.
Westbrook is one of the most athletic players in the NBA. He’s incredibly quick, and he can beat anyone in transition and in the half court. He might have a questionable shot selection sometimes, but he’s a strong finisher and can beat anyone into the paint.
This matchup of pure shooting versus extreme speed and athleticism will surely be an intriguing one this upcoming season.
2. Harrison Barnes vs. Kevin Durant
Speaking of athletic, Barnes proved many critics wrong last season by displaying his explosiveness and athleticism. Barnes became one of the Warriors’ most exciting players because of his insane dunking ability. Just ask Nikola Pekovic, Anthony Randolph, or Ersan Ilyasova.
Durant can score in so many different ways. He attacks the rim, but he also has a smooth shooting stroke. It will be quite the matchup to see one of the most promising small forwards in the NBA, Barnes, go up against one of the best small forwards right now, Durant.
3. Andre Iguodala vs. Kevin Durant
Iguodala is also extremely athletic and can score in many different ways, just like Durant. He slashes to the rim, but he can also spread the floor and shoot threes. In addition, he’s one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, so seeing him going up against Durant, offensively and defensively, will certainly be fun to watch.
4. Klay Thompson vs. Kevin Durant
Thompson isn’t quite the athletic, all-around scorer that Durant or Iguodala is, but he’s arguably one of the best three-point shooters in the league, just like his backcourt teammate. This Splash Brother shot 40.1 percent from three last season, and he’s been working on driving to the basket more. He also has shown much improvement on the defensive end. He’s not quite the defender that Iguodala is, but he showed in the playoffs that he can effectively guard smaller guards, such as Ty Lawson or Tony Parker. When the Warriors go small, it will be interesting to see him guard a larger, longer small forward like Durant.
5. David Lee vs. Serge Ibaka
This will be a fun matchup to watch when the Warriors are on offense. Lee is criticized a lot for his defensive deficiencies, but he is extremely skilled offensively. He can post up, shoot the mid-range shot, and he’s a great passer for a power forward.
On the other side, Ibaka is a beast defensively. He led the NBA last season in blocks per game with 3.03, and he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for a second consecutive season this year. Ibaka uses his athleticism and his long wingspan to disrupt players in the paint. This matchup, featuring Lee’s offensive abilities and Ibaka’s stellar defense, will certainly be an entertaining one.