The Washington Wizards, hoping to adapt quickly to the new rules changes that take effect in the NBA this season, held an intrasquad scrimmage with referees again today during training camp at Shepherd College.
"Normally, we try to do that by the third day," Coach Gar Heard said. "We are trying to get them into game conditioning, get them used to the referee whistle and getting up and down the court a little bit."
The NBA made four major rules changes in an attempt to try to increase scoring. The most drastic change is the elimination of contact on the ballhandler. The players do not like a new rule that gives that player with the ball five seconds to shoot or pass once he steps below the free throw line.
"Mostly it was a lot of whistle-blowing," Heard said, adding that second-year center Jahidi White and power forward Michael Smith were called for several fouls. "We've got a long way to go because we still are a little too physical."
The team also used referees during a scrimmage here on Thursday night.
The Wizards will have a scrimmage for season ticket holders at 6 p.m. Saturday. After the game, players will sign autographs.
Washington will break camp Sunday, then open its preseason schedule with back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Lakers in Little Rock on Tuesday and Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday.
Guard Mitch Richmond did not participate in a second day of practices because of a mildly strained right hamstring. He will not practice Saturday morning.
Heard said he will wait to see how Richmond feels Saturday night before deciding whether he will play in the scrimmage.
"If he is ready to go tomorrow night, I will let him play," Heard said. "If not, I will wait until Tuesday. I'm in no hurry to get him back on the court." . . .
Forward Aaron Williams did not practice during the night session because of back spasms.