Coach Connection: Bill Bayno

Editor’s Note: This week, profiles each of the four Wolves assistant coaches. In Part 3, Bill Bayno transitions from six years in Portland to join Rick Adelman’s staff in Minnesota.

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

At the conclusion of almost every Timberwolves practice, assistant coach Bill Bayno is about as easy to spot as anyone. He’s the guy playing one-on-one against someone on the Wolves roster, playing glove-like defense while wearing massive forearm pads that look like Pop-eye arms.

His goal? Bayno plays each session as physically as possible, challenging the young Wolves in a way that hopefully makes driving to the lane in games easier. No question, there is no easy basket in this game of one-on-one.

“Pek’s the tough one,” Bayno said of center Nikola Pekovic. “Pek beats me up. Anthony Randolph beats me up. Hopefully Derrick (Williams) will read this, because he doesn’t beat me up so much, but he’s getting better.”

Bayno brings a joy for coaching, an enthusiasm for the game and a light-hearted demeanor that fits well with Minnesota’s young roster this season. His passion is helping players get better and achieve new heights, and as the Wolves enter Wednesday’s game with six more wins than they had all of last year, Bayno and this coaching staff is helping do just that.

But it’s not easy. Bayno works tirelessly each day with the guys, and the challenge of helping an up-and-coming team succeed while learning from a successful coach in Rick Adelman were two key reasons why Bayno decided to take the Wolves position.

Bayno spent six years under Nate McMillan in Portland, but when President of Basketball Operations David Kahn approached him about coaching for the Wolves, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up.

“We had a great staff in Portland last year and had a ton of fun,” Bayno said. “But I’m having every bit as much fun, maybe more, and the same type of staff chemistry (in Minnesota). And working for Rick has been unbelievable. He trusts you. He lets you coach, gives you the freedom, and it’s been really fun working for him.”

It’s perhaps the best fit for Bayno, considering his love for teaching young talent and his background coaching internationally. Minnesota’s 15 roster spots represent five different countries ranging from Puerto Rico and Spain to Serbia and Montenegro. Bayno has spent time as an international scout for the Blazers, has traveled to Africa each year since 2005 as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative and has coached or worked as a consultant for basketball programs in Korea, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.

He said no matter where you go, the game is still the same.

“The style of play might be different, but the togetherness, the chemistry, trying to nurture all of these young guys is very similar,” Bayno said.

Bayno spent time working with guard JJ Barea the summer after his senior year in Puerto Rico and also worked with guard Ricky Rubio in the gym in previous years. This year, he’s enjoyed seeing forward Kevin Love become one of the most consistent players in the league. He’s helped in the development of Pekovic and said he admires how the Wolves’ players have each accepted their roles in helping the team win.

He said that’s a big part of a team’s success.

“A lot of guys have really sacrificed,” Bayno said. “There are a lot of guys that aren’t playing as many minutes as they’d like, but they’re taking advantage of those minutes and they’re buying into the team. The results you see are a lot of wins against good teams.”

Much of that is attributed to Adelman. Bayno said it’s been a pleasure working with him during their first season together.

“Rick getting the job had a lot to do with it—I knew we were going to win,” Bayno said. “I’d been with Nate for six years, so getting to learn from another coach was important to me, especially a Hall of Fame coach. That really did it for me.”

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.