The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers are back in the Western Conference Finals. But since they last played each other in 2020, only Nikola Jokic, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are on their original teams and the Lakers have a new coach in Darvin Ham. The Nuggets have barely even seen the current version of the Lakers yet.

While the Nuggets made their big moves in the 2022 offseason, the Lakers remade themselves at the trade deadline. The additions of Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and D'Angelo Russell plus the ascent of Austin Reaves have made them a legit team. The Nuggets and Lakers last played in January. Much of the past matchups between these teams

Jokic said that he doesn't remember the bubble series and is aware of how good the Lakers have been this postseason, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“We didn't play with this kind of Lakers [team],” Jokic said, via ESPN. “So this is going to be basically a new team for us. Probably everything is new, everything is different…They're playing amazing in these playoffs. Since [the trade] deadline, they're playing really well.”

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The Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in before dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors in six games each. Davis' unreal defense, clever schemes from Ham and the timely scoring from James, Davis, Russell and Reaves have made LA a very tough team to defeat.

Still, Jokic and the Nuggets' movement-heavy offense will be very hard to stop. Ham joked that the best way to stop the two-time MVP would be to kidnap him. Jokic has a counter for every kind of defense and his teammates know how to play off of his passing abilities. This year's Western Conference Finals should be a more even fight than the bubble series that lasted only five games.

Jokic said that the Nuggets have more experience this time around. That experience and their home-court advantage give them a strong chance to beat the Lakers and make the NBA Finals for the first time ever. But against James and Davis, it won't come easy.