May 3, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers watches from the sideline as they take on the New York Knicks in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. The New York Knicks defeated the Celtics 88-80. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

How Doc Rivers to LA Clippers impacts OKC Thunder

A deal finally got done between the Los Angeles Clippers and newly minted head coach Doc Rivers.

After going back and forth forever on this prospective deal, the Clippers were able to bring in Rivers as their new head coach and sign him to a three-year, $21 million deal.

At first, the Clippers had hoped to also acquire Kevin Garnett along with Rivers but that possibility seems like it will be more difficult now with the league keeping a close watch on the two teams.

This kind of coaching change is one that will definitely shake up the league somewhat. Rivers won a championship with the Boston Celtics back in 2008 and gained a reputation as one of the five best coaches in the NBA, especially when it came to the offensive side of things and designing plays.

This is where Rivers promises to help the Clippers more than anything. The Clips garnered a reputation under Vinny Del Negro for running some of the most simplistic offenses in the NBA, if you could even categorize them as offenses at all.

The talent level has never been a question for the Clippers since they acquired Chris Paul and most of the blame for their limited playoff success fell on the shoulders of VDN.

It looks like the beginning of a new era for Clippers Nation with the addition of Rivers and one that could turn the Clippers into a real force in a Western Conference that appears to be pretty much up for grabs.

The San Antonio Spurs will be the defending Western Conference champs headed into next season but we of course cannot forget that the true potential of the Oklahoma City Thunder was only briefly on display in these playoffs.

Odds have already been released on next season and the Thunder are so far seen as the early favorites in the conference.

Will the Clippers be a team that is able to challenge the Thunder?

The Clippers have played the Thunder tough ever since acquiring Paul two years ago. Where the Thunder normally have a tremendous advantage with Russell Westbrook at point guard, it has at times become a hindrance as Westbrook is matched up with the brilliance of Paul.

Both the Thunder and the Clippers are full of athletes who can compete in the paint and above the rim. Tempo usually revs up when these two meet and which is better of the two teams was never totally clear.

If the Clippers are on the verge of seeing a dramatic increase in offensive efficiency and competency then they may very well become the team to beat in the conference. For all of their flaws the past two years, the Clips were still fully capable of beating any team in the league on any given night and even went undefeated in the month of December this past season.

Championship windows never stay open for too long. The Thunder need to be careful here. The Westbrook injury had this season come to an unfortunate early end for OKC and the conference is ever changing, meaning a guarantee to get back to the NBA Finals simply does not exist.

The Clippers may be the next team standing in the way of the Thunder next season.

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Tags: Boston Celtics Doc Rivers Los Angeles Clippers Oklahoma City Thunder

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