SHENZHEN – The shifting time zones told the Warriors’ biological clocks that day is night and night is day. A passport travel at no fault of the Warriors or coach Steve Kerr prompted him to arrive a day later in a different city.
In other words, the Warriors spent the beginning of their week-long trip to China adjusting to a new place instead of exploring.
An East-Coast based processing center did not deliver Kerr’s passport in time for him to fly on the Warriors’ chartered plane that left on Sunday afternoon and landed on Monday evening nearly 14 hours and 20 minutes later. Instead, Kerr took a direct flight on Sunday evening and arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning.
“We were a little worried he didn’t make the trip,” Warriors development coach Willie Green said. “But we’re glad he made it safely.”
The rest of the Warriors made it safely to Shenzhen at 8:15 p.m. local time on Monday night, before arriving at their hotel nearly two hours later. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors experienced varying sleeping patterns and jet lag from the 15-hour time difference. While Green slept for three or four hours before waking up “on and off,” Warriors guard Patrick McCaw woke up at 6 a.m. wide awake after dozing off around midnight.
“It was crazy,” McCaw said. “I was up almost all night and I took a few little naps in between.”
So to adjust to those varying sleeping patterns, the Warriors held an optional workout early Tuesday afternoon at Shenzhen City Arena. They then had an optional team-sanctioned event at Hong Kong.
“I think I’m kind of cool,” McCaw said. “I’m not really worrying about the time frame and the difference. My body feels normal right now. I think I got to get adjusted. But I think I’ll be fine.”
The Warriors wanted to empower their players to spend their first day as it suited them. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala went golfing on Tuesday morning, with Green saying, “I put my money on Steph” to win on the links. Warriors forward Draymond Green planned to join Kerr at the team’s event in Hong Kong. And nine players of the Warriors’ 18-man roster attended the optional workout.
“It’s a good turnout. It’s optional, though,” Green said. “We don’t hold it against guys if they didn’t want to come, but we got a good number of guys that want to get a rhythm. Our guys are professional and understand what’s at hand. We want to continue to get better.”
The main headliner featured Warriors forward Kevin Durant, who worked out before practice with assistant coach Bruce Fraser.
“KD is a guy that loves to get in the gym,” Green said. “He likes to come in and get a rhythm going. I think he’s just trying to come out and get off to a good start.”
The Warriors are eager to do the same. The Warriors lost to Denver in their preseason opener to Denver on Saturday at Oracle, going an uncharacteristic 4-of-33 from 3-point range. The Warriors then flew on Sunday afternoon and landed in Shenzhen nearly 14 hours and 20 minutes later.
“It’s good for guys who feel they need to come in and get some shots and get a little rhythm and break a little sweat,” Green said. “It helps prepare you for the next day of practice going into the game.”
The Warriors will have a formal practice on Wednesday. But that will not mark the only itinerary on their schedule. They will have various meet-and-greets, while Curry, Thompson and Durant plan to make promotional appearances for their respective shoe brands. Oh, and the Warriors host the Minnesota Timberwolves for a pair of preseason games in Shenzhen (Thursday) and Shanghai (Sunday). The NBA said there is about 240 media credentials from 123 outlets for their pair of preseason games.
“We know it’s part of the league expanding and having a presence globally. Sometimes it can be tough with the travel,” Green said. “We understand we have to come out here and try to make the best of it and enjoy it and interact with the fans here. The NBA does a great job of getting us here and we’re looking forward to it.”
The Warriors have resisted complaining too much about their trip. Though their charter plane had no Internet access, the team had first-class seats with reclining beds as well as individual televisions to watch shows and movies. They had catered meals. And the plane featured a second floor with more amenities.
“We had a lot of space. I think it was the best way to travel if you could travel anyway, you would travel like that,” Green said. “I didn’t get a chance to go up to the second floor. But I was pretty sure all the guys were up there.”
Will Green go up there on the return flight on Sunday night?
“Maybe,” he said, smiling. “Maybe I’ll take a peek and play some cards.”