"Nikola Jokic Ready to Take on Mature, Experienced Lakers with His Refreshed Mentality and New Teammates"

The Denver Nuggets will take on the Los Angeles Lakers in a western conference finals rematch that Nikola Jokic says will feel like a new experience. Jokic, sporting a new haircut, has added two MVP trophies since the Nuggets last faced off against the Lakers and boasts an impressive new supporting cast of veterans Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bruce Brown and Jeff Green.

"We are more experienced," said Jokic. "We have been there before. We are maybe a little bit more, not focused, [but playing in] different environments [than the bubble]. So I think we are just experienced, playing a little bit more together."

The Lakers have made a few changes too, moving on from Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, and Kendrick Nunn and bringing in Rui Hachimura, D'Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Mo Bamba and Tristan Thompson. The Lakers still have some major star power with Anthony Davis and LeBron James, and Nuggets head coach Michael Malone praised Jokic for his maturity and consistently great play.

"Nikola has just to me been a definition of greatness for a while now," said Malone. "The consistency in which he plays at, the level he plays at is just you marvel at sometimes. [But] he's changed. He's married, he's a father, he's matured." This matchup will be Jokic's biggest test this postseason with the stakes higher than ever.