Wall: "If I don't make the playoffs, it's a waste of time"
Maybe it's a dog year's thing. Entering his second NBA training camp, Bradley Beal is no nervous puppy.
"I'm not shell shocked. I feel like I've played for the team like 10 years already," the shooting guard said after his first day of training camp. "I just feel more comfortable, more confident, I'm just excited. I'm ready to go."
Anybody paying attention throughout Beal's rookie campaign noticed the transformation in real time. He averaged 13.9 points with a season-high 28 against Milwaukee plus a memorable game-winner against Oklahoma City. After shooting only 26 percent on his 3-point attempts in November and December, the No. 3 overall pick sank at least 42 percent from beyond the arc in each of his next three months.
Beal stated that confidence has carried over.
"I feel more within myself," he said. "I'm not trying to do too much, I'm not trying to prove myself. Everybody knows what I'm capable of doing, I'm just trying to come out and be an example, work hard and get things established and hopefully carry on that intensity."
The biggest questions surrounding Beal entering camp involve his health - he missed 26 games last season with various leg and ankle injuries - and his learning how best to deal with future bumps and bruises.
Otto Porter, the third overall selection in the 2013 draft, is dealing with a current hip flexor that's kept him out of the opening first two days of practice. Both Porter and the team must balance the need for on-court work with avoiding rushing the rookie back, something Beal admits to doing last season.
"Oh they're real important," Beal said of the training camp practices. "(Otto) can't really do anything cause he's injured and we have to accept that, he has to accept it and not try it rush back. That's the last thing he should want to do, just come back when he's ready cause he's going to have plenty of time. He has 82 games, he has preseason games he has, hopefully have training camp to come back in here and just work his way into it.
"It was important for me last year because I felt like everybody was hurt last year so I felt as though I had to step up and just... I was kind of thrown into the fire so to speak but he has a role where he can just come in and relax and just have fun and just play ball."