Challenges for new coaches in Western Conference

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Doc Rivers is front and center in the Clippers' plans to contend for a championship this season.

Doc Rivers is front and center in the Clippers' plans to contend for a championship this season.

To get familiar with all of the new faces, let's break down each hire. We'll focus on the Western Conference here and examine the Eastern Conference later this week.

Brian Shaw spent the last two seasons as the Pacers' associate head coach.

Brian Shaw spent the last two seasons as the Pacers' associate head coach.

Bottom line: This is one of those matches that sounded so good you never thought it would actually happen. Rivers takes over just as the Clippers should be ready to take the next step after making the playoffs the last two seasons. Expectations will be high right from the start.

David Joerger spent six seasons as a Grizzlies assistant before being promoted to head coach.

David Joerger spent six seasons as a Grizzlies assistant before being promoted to head coach.

Bottom line: With so many players back from one of the league's best teams, Joerger will be on the spot from Day One. This isn't a team in the throes of rebuilding; the Grizzlies are expecting a fourth consecutive playoff appearance and hopefully another deep postseason run.

Jeff Hornacek takes over a rebuilding Suns team that finished with the second-worst record in team history last season.

Jeff Hornacek takes over a rebuilding Suns team that finished with the second-worst record in team history last season.

Bottom line: Hornacek's lack of coaching experience makes him a bold choice, but what do the Suns have to lose? Hornacek can grow on the job without immediate pressure to make the playoffs.

Michael Malone has been a highly regarded assistant for a number of years.

Michael Malone has been a highly regarded assistant for a number of years.

Bottom line: Malone has the pedigree to be a great NBA coach, but he couldn't have picked a tougher proving ground than Sacramento. Ranadive is saying all of the right things and appears motivated to revive the team, but the combination of the Kings' roster and culture of losing makes this turnaround job as difficult as any in the league.