Play­ers fi­nally get­ting over jet lag

San Francisco Chronicle - - SPORTS - By Con­nor Le­tourneau Con­nor Le­tourneau is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer.

The change came mid­way through War­riors prac­tice Thurs­day. Af­ter watch­ing his play­ers — still jet-lagged from their re­cent trip to China — la­bor through half of the ses­sion, head coach Steve Kerr no­ticed them ratchet up their en­ergy.

“It felt like the light went on,” Kerr said. “It felt like we were scrim­mag­ing. It felt like the speed and the pace came back. I think we’re hope­fully over the hump.”

Golden State’s week­long tour of China took its toll. Though the War­riors built re­la­tion­ships — with fans, as well as com­pa­nies — in the NBA’s largest in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, they man­aged only two prac­tices there. It also hasn’t helped that, thanks to the jet leg that comes with a 15-hour time change, many play­ers have been sleep­ing in only one- or two-hour in­ter­vals.

Af­ter re­turn­ing Sun­day night to the Bay Area, the team took Mon­day off. Its prac­tice was cut short Tues­day be­cause play­ers were still ex­hausted. Af­ter a low-en­ergy — al­beit, much longer — prac­tice Wed­nes­day, the War­riors are fi­nally be­gin­ning to put in mean­ing­ful work at prac­tice.

It has been far from ideal for a team try­ing to de­fend its NBA ti­tle. Golden State fin­ishes its pre­sea­son slate Fri­day against Sacra­mento, af­ford­ing it three days to pre­pare for its reg­u­larsea­son opener against Hous­ton.

“I’m not wor­ried about any­thing,” said Kerr, who is still hav­ing a tough time get­ting his sleep cy­cle back on track. “Last year, we got beat by (29) points on open­ing night and won a cham­pi­onship. No mat­ter what hap­pens, it’s not re­ally go­ing to be a barom­e­ter or any­thing like

that. It’s more that this is a long haul. We’re try­ing to get our sea legs.”

Cuts: The War­riors plan to trim their ros­ter af­ter Fri­day’s ex­hi­bi­tion, Kerr said.

NBA teams can carry 20man teams un­til cut­ting them down to 15 the day be­fore the start of the reg­u­lar sea­son. Golden State is cur­rently at 18 play­ers, with 15 of those on fully guar­an­teed NBA con­tracts for the 2017-18 sea­son. Odds are that Ge­orges

Niang and Michael Gbinije will be waived Fri­day so the War­riors can des­ig­nate them to their Ga­torade League af­fil­i­ate in Santa Cruz. Rookie Chris

Boucher, who has signed a two-way con­tract, is also on the War­riors’ train­ing-camp ros­ter, but isn’t play­ing in pre­sea­son as

he re­cov­ers from a torn ACL suf­fered in the Pac-12 tour­na­ment with Ore­gon.

Golden State has an­other two-way con­tract avail­able, which could be used on Niang or Gbinije.

Speak­ers: Kerr likes to oc­ca­sion­ally in­vite guests to speak to his team. Be­fore Sun­day’s ex­hi­bi­tion win over Min­nesota in Shang­hai, Roger Fed­erer vis­ited the War­riors’ locker room. One per­son on Kerr’s wish list is au­thor Malcolm Glad­well.

“I’d like to get him in front of the group this year,” Kerr said. “That’s kind of in the works if we can make it hap­pen.”

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