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Doc Rivers changes course; impacts to Utah Jazz and Western Conference

By Sam Gillies

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, June 25 2013 6:20 p.m. MDT

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers as the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics play NBA basketball Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Salt Lake City.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

As quickly as Danny Ainge built a contender out of thin air by aquiring the orignial "Big Three", the Celtics are once again in a state of limbo as they are in full on rebuilding mode with the departure of their skipper, Doc Rivers.

On the flip side, the Los Angeles Clippers are looking to bottle what Rivers captured in "Bean Town" and - have now put on the full court press to keep Chris Paul in Hollywood as the Clips look to make a run at a championship of their own.

In a rare trade involving a head coach, the Rivers move is more than a shake-up for L.A. - it marks a power-restructuring in the Western Conference. Every team in the west has just been put on notice - including the Utah Jazz.

How much of an impact one coach can have remains to be seen, as for the matchups however, what the Jazz lack in talent they make up for with effort. First off, lets look at the point gaurd spot. Assuming Mo Williams returns, his range and willingness to let it fly will keep Chris Paul honest on the defensive end. But if he drives the lane and attacks the hoop then Paul will hold his own and Williams will not get much in the paint.

As for Paul on offense, he will drive the lane with ease, he is an assassin when it comes to passing the ball and appears to have eyes in the back of his head at times.

Backcourt - Advantage Clippers

A developing Alec Burks may be slightly outmatched by a finalist for the 2012 sixth man of the year in Jamal Crawford, but not by much. Gordon Hayward will hold his own but the Clippers have much more depth whether it be on the court or as pieces in a trade.

Frontcourt - Advantage Clippers

Depending on the development of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter and whether Utah brings Al Jefferson back to town or Paul Millsap, the Jazz will hold their own even against all-star caliber talent in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

The Western conference will be tougher then ever and the addition of Rivers will only add credibility to a franchise that has been the red-headed step-child of the NBA for a generation. Vinny DelNegro was a fine coach, but there is no doubt the Clips just upgraded from a dependable Honda Accord to a Mercedes Benz.

Head Coach - Advantage Clippers

The Celtics in return get a first round draft pick and sometimes they turn out good and a lot of the time they do not turn out good. But if it does turn out good then Rajon Rondo could have some great young talent and they could easily make the playoffs with the right pieces in place. Danny Ainge is going to do anything he can to get this team back to winning form and many believe that he will make this team a contender once again.

Trade Value - Advantage Clippers

On paper it looks like the Clippers made out like bandits and robbed the NBA blind, but that's why they play the games.

Sam GIllies is 14 and a ninth grader at American Fork Jr. High.

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