Even though this is Brian Shaw's first season as an NBA head coach, there have been enough "been there, done that" moments to keep things from getting too sentimental.

Facing the Los Angeles Lakers, for whom he played? Yawn.

Going home to Oakland? Fun, but not unique.

What about coaching in Boston, the team that drafted you? Eh.

But this? This is new. This is the Indiana Pacers, against whom Shaw will coach Saturday night. This is the first time he will see, in person, everyone he used to work with on a daily basis when he was an assistant for the Pacers the past two seasons.

"There's definitely love there," Shaw said. "I feel it, I'm sure they feel it. We still pull for one another."

Shaw's experience with the Pacers is the biggest reason he's now the coach of the Nuggets. Shaw made a name for himself as an assistant for Phil Jackson with the Lakers, but when they passed on him to replace Jackson — even though Jackson endorsed him — he was thrust into a situation where he needed to prove himself once more. The Pacers provided the platform.

"After they didn't want us anymore in L.A., they welcomed me with open arms in Indiana," Shaw said. "They gave me an opportunity to continue to coach and to help have an impact on that group of guys. We grew a lot in the two years that I was there."

Not only have the Pacers grown, they come to the Pepsi Center as contenders for the NBA championship. They have the best record in the league and a star player in Paul George.