Thunder vs. Warriors preview: Golden State's model similar to OKC's

USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors are in a breakout season thanks to a franchise model similar to that of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who they host on Wednesday night.

Similarities between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder begin where each team left off.

Both teams are coming off wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, the third-best team in the Western Conference.

The Warriors host the Thunder on Wednesday, and looking at the two teams and their recent histories, similarities are easy to find in the building blocks of the respective franchises as well. Clearly, Oklahoma City is further along in the process, but there's no doubt Golden State is following a similar path.

It first begins with draft picks. The Warriors (25-15) rely heavily upon starters Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson, all of whom they've drafted in the past two years. At the forefront of clever picks is point guard Stephen Curry, who leads the team with 20.7 points per game and 6.6 assists.

It's similar to Oklahoma City's situation, where Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka turned out to be smart selections as well, not to mention the James Harden pick that resulted in a trade which added young assets and bench scorer Kevin Martin to the mix.

Both organizations have sneaky-good free-agent pickups to fill out the roster. For the Thunder (33-9), most recently it has been backup center Hasheem Thabeet doing the little things to fill in the gaps after being picked up this offseason. In Golden State, Jarrett Jack, an underrated player on bad teams, has found his niche as a role player for a winning one.

The two franchises are on inclines of success, but the odds are on the Thunder to pull out a road victory on Wednesday.

Matchup to watch

The easy bet is that Westbrook and Curry going head-to-head will be entertaining. Thabo Sefolosha will try to stop one of Golden State's wing scorers, and it's a wonder who will be able to lock down Durant on the Warriors' end.

The starting power forward position -- maybe even the backup clash of Nick Collison and Carl Landry -- could be key in the final outcome, however.

Fighting to break the curse of Sprewell, Warriors forward David Lee will have a stiff challenge to continue his push for an All-Star invitation against Ibaka, one of the NBA's best paint defenders and the second-best shot-blocker (2.78 per game) behind Milwaukee's Larry Sanders.

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBATV

Odds: The Thunder are three-point favorites.

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