Not once did the Warriors complain about their obligations during a weeklong swing through China that, truth be told, they’d rather have avoided.
As splendid as they looked Sunday in a 142-110 blowout of Minnesota, the Warriors returned to Oakland with eight days to recover from jet lag from two 7,000-mile trips in seven days, fend off any lingering fatigue and have a few productive practices before taking the court Friday for their final exhibition game.
When the regular season opens Oct. 17 there will be an immediate sprint, with the retooled Houston Rockets coming to Oracle Arena.
If the Warriors start slowly, this trip logically would be a contributing factor.
The Warriors, players and coaches, conceded that the offseason felt particularly short. They opened training camp on Sept. 23, the same day as the Timberwolves, but Minnesota’s 2016-17 NBA season ended a full two months earlier.
That’s why this China trek was so challenging, even though the Warriors excelled in the role of basketball ambassadors, smiling, signing autographs and playfully engaging local fans while dragging themselves across multiple time zones. They’re the most popular team in the league, generally amiable and reigning champs. It’s obvious why the league selected them as representatives.
“It’s just counter-productive in a way,” Shaun Livingston, speaking of the journey, told reporters in Shanghai, “because of the schedule and because it’s more than just the basketball part.”
The Warriors went through this only upon request. This was not something they would have chosen to undertake, even though they’re too diplomatic to say so. They simply accepted the challenge even while aware of potential pitfalls.
“This is about a cultural experience, about sharing NBA basketball with our fans in China,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a great trip, a great experience, but this is not the way to prepare for the season.
“But that’s all right. We’ll have about a week when we get back, and I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Insofar as he coaches a team of professionals, Kerr is probably right. They will be fine. But there is no way of knowing whether that will be next week or next month. There is no knowing how long they’ll have a China hangover.
Understand, the Warriors have nothing against China or the Chinese. Some players brought their families along. The team’s four All-Stars -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson -- make regular trips -- 15-hour flights each way -- and really seem to enjoy it.
No, this is about a team that can only hope there will be no residual effect from its second trip to China in four seasons.
This is about a team coming off three of the longest seasons in league history, the most recent ending June 12 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
A team that, even without a postseason, consistently ranks among the top five in air miles traveled over the course of a season.
A team that, including the postseason, has flown more miles than any other over the past three seasons.
Any NBA team spending a week of its preseason in China, or anyplace else far beyond the United States, is forced to make adjustments to its routine. The Warriors spent less time on the court than meeting team and individual commitments off it.
“It’s a huge problem,” Green told reporters. “You kind of take training camp and break it up. It’s not the norm, so I think it’s a humongous problem.
“You start to risk injury and all of those things . . . so we have a pretty professional team. Guys get their work in, but it’s still nothing like actual practicing and that tempo. It’s more a risk of injury than the season. We’ll figure it out over the season.”
Oh, they certainly will. After all, they’re the deepest, most talented team in the NBA. They’ll recover. What’s uncertain is when.