Wizards explore Japan ahead of pre-season game against Warriors

Before the Washington Wizards land in Japan for a pair of preseason exhibition games this week, Kyle Kuzma noted he wants the experience to “mold” the team and build camaraderie.

The Wizards exploring Japan ahead of the Warriors preseason game originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Before the Washington Wizards land in Japan for a pair of preseason exhibition games this week, Kyle Kuzma noted he wants the experience to “mold” the team and build camaraderie.

“We have a lot of familiar faces, but we have a bunch of new players who are going to be big players for us,” Kuzma told NBC Sports Washington’s Wes Hall. “If we can start now, be on the same page, be cool, hang out, I think that’s the most important thing.”

So far, these objectives seem to have been achieved.

The team touched down in Tokyo earlier this week and took time out before their matchup against Golden State to meet and greet fans, tour the country and build some chemistry. At the heart of the Wizarding Journey is the focus on Rui Hachimura, who will not only play a vital role in Wes Unseld Jr.’s rotation this year, but will also bring a huge following to Japan where he was born.

“Seeing my country, my culture, it’s an amazing feeling,” Hachimura said as the team toured the Tokyo Tower.

Washington was prepared for the vast swathes of media Hachimura would be exposed to when visiting his home country, so general manager Tommy Sheppard made preparations to avoid burnout during the trip to Japan. The follow-up to Hachimura was evident in the form of a media rally on Thursday:

The Golden State Warriors also take advantage of their sightseeing in Japan, taking time to sign autographs for fans at the airport (much like the Wizards) and even trying their hand at sumo wrestling. Unlike long range shooting, they will need a lot more practice in sumo:

Washington takes on Golden State early Friday morning, with the NBA Japan Games starting at 6 a.m. EST live on NBC Sports Washington.