Bradley Beal was so hard on himself in his first NBA season that he would drop his shoulders in disgust if he missed an open jumper during training camp and even wept in the locker room after disappointing performances in his first two games with the Washington Wizards.

Coach Randy Wittman didn’t want to place any unfair expectations on Beal or give him more responsibility than he could handle but he never wanted to be graded on a curve or to get a pass because he was only 19. Beal held himself to a high standard as last season’s third overall draft pick but admitted recently that his rookie year didn’t take off until he decided to loosen up.

“I was losing sight of having fun which is what’s most important” Beal said. “I think that’s what happens to a lot of people like we forget to have fun and the reasons why we actually play the game so I just looked at myself in the mirror and was like: ‘It’s not your game. Just relax calm down. Just be who you are.’ And I ended up doing it.”

The Beal who arrived for training camp this season was much more self-assured after a stellar campaign in which he became just the seventh teenager in NBA history to make the league’s all-rookie team. Beal also set a franchise record for most three-pointers made by a rookie with 91 despite missing 26 games because of various ailments including a season-ending stress injury in his right leg.

Beal’s summer workouts were delayed as he recovered but he believes that he had enough time to get stronger work on his ballhandling and expand his game beyond being a lethal shooter. He was cleared to participate in basketball-related activities in July and gradually picked up his workouts with his personal trainer back home in St. Louis at Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas and later in Washington with Wizards assistant Sam Cassell.