SHANGHAI, China — Some of the 76ers looked tired Wednesday at practice, and that was totally understandable.
The team's flight from Philadelphia to the world's most populated city took 21 hours, 38 minutes because of a snow storm in Calgary. The plane made a scheduled stop in the Canadian city to refuel. However, the Sixers were delayed three hours there because of the weather.
The Sixers were scheduled to arrive at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Shanghai time. However, they didn't get here until midday.
"As crazy as it was for others, I was actually doing work and fell asleep," coach Brett Brown said of the flight. "And I was a bit surprised when you felt the plane take off again, and I did wake up and saw a Sunoco sign when I thought we were over the South Pacific.
"Other than that, it was a long trip."
But the coach added that team is "glad" and excited to be playing basketball in China.
Brown's squad will face the Dallas Mavericks on Friday (7:30 a.m. in Philadelphia) at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Then the teams will travel to Shenzhen for Monday's matchup (8 a.m.) at the Shenzhen University Center.
However, one would assume that this trip is more of a nuisance to a Sixers team with heightened expectations after last season's 52-win regular season and second-round playoff appearance. And one could argue that the Sixers need practice time more than they need to represent the NBA on goodwill exhibitions on the other side of the world.
They need to identify a reserve who will fill in for reserve forward Wilson Chandler, the key offseason acquisition who is sidelined with a strained left hamstring. Meanwhile, the Sixers are also without reserve guard Jerryd Bayless (left knee strain) and reserve center Norvel Pelle (gastroenteritis). Bayless has been back in the rotation this preseason after not leaving the bench at the end of last season.
So the team must deal with injuries and an overseas trip while preparing for its most anticipated season in more than a decade. And the Sixers will be tested from the start with a season-opening game at Boston on Oct. 16.
Brown said he's not thinking about any of that.
"If I let myself, you easily could," he said. "But I'm not going to do that. We are looking forward to having solid practices, solid video sessions, continue our strength and conditioning sessions that's been so good."
They're also going to try to grow their rotation.
The fact that "it just so happens to be on the other side of the planet can't come into sort of my psyche," Brown said.
The Sixers seem to be viewing this venture as a week-long training camp away from their practice facility. They preach that this is an opportunity to come together and enjoy a different part of the world and a different culture as a group.