SAN FRANCISCO • The prevailing feeling has been one of newness for the Golden State Warriors. New season. New arena. New city.
And even a new roster, or at least one that has undergone a significant makeover since the team stuffed their championship banners into moving vans and made its way across the Bay Bridge from Oakland to San Francisco a few months ago.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr is also still trying to acclimate himself to his new surroundings at Chase Centre, a gleaming colossus along the city's waterfront, revealing he had already locked himself out of his office twice. "We're slowly but surely figuring those things out," he said.
Even Stephen Curry, the franchise's star player, is adjusting to life with fresh teammates - and to his new environs.
In the old days, back when the team played at Oracle Arena in Oakland, he would close his pre-game routine with a long-range jumper from a court-side tunnel.
But because the tunnels at the Chase Centre are situated well behind the baseline, the All-Star has found that he needs to heave the ball over the backboard.
Before last Thursday's home opener, he missed on his attempt badly and the remainder of the Warriors' evening was just as bleak.
Their 141-122 National Basketball Association (NBA) loss to the LA Clippers - their first regular-season game in San Francisco since 1971 - was a reminder that this is a new era for Golden State, one that will require patience, work and incremental progress.
"Losing stinks," Kerr said. "It's no fun. But this is more the reality of the NBA. The last five years, we've been living in a world that isn't supposed to exist."
The last five years, the Warriors went to five straight NBA Finals and won three championships.
But the landscape has shifted, of course, especially in the Western Conference and for the first time in a long time, the Warriors are not title contenders.
Some pundits, including Charles Barkley, have even predicted that they will miss the play-offs entirely.
Not so long ago, the Warriors were one of the top defensive teams in the league - an often overshadowed facet of their championship formula.
But Golden State, as currently constructed, are not brimming with top-notch defenders, with Klay Thompson sidelined with a cruciate ligament injury and Kevin Durant now at the Brooklyn Nets.
While D'Angelo Russell is a terrific offensive talent and can shoulder some of the scoring load, Curry will face an enormous amount of defensive pressure this season.
It was nearly impossible for opponents to trap him when he shared the court with Durant and Thompson, something his coach has acknowledged.
"He's definitely going to get more attention," Kerr said.
"You think about who he's lost alongside him. We're starting over in many respects."