Wolves Coach Bayno Ready To Coach Roy Again

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Timberwolves assistant coach Bill Bayno knows guard Brandon Roy well. As a Trail Blazers assistant during his five seasons in Portland, Bayno watched Roy blossom into one of the NBA’s top closers and one of the league’s top scoring threats right before his eyes.

And he’ll be the first to tell you the type of impact Roy can have on a basketball team won’t just show up on a box score. It will be an impact felt throughout the locker room. On Tuesday, the two were officially reunited again in Minnesota.

“He and I hit it off right from the start and spent a lot of time and work a lot on his game,” Bayno said in a phone interview this week. “And he always was willing to stay after and work and knew what he had to do to get better. It was just a joy to be around him.”

The Wolves officially signed Roy on Tuesday, bringing him to Minnesota after five years flourishing with the Portland Trail Blazers. Roy announced his retirement last winter and missed the 2011-12 season due to ongoing knee trouble, but after undergoing knee injections to help ease the pain he returned to the court and began testing out his knees’ durability.

 After working out with Bayno for a week this offseason, Roy proved to his old coach that he did in fact resemble the player he once coached in Portland.

“I worked him out the whole week, had no pain, was really explosive, reminded me a lot of the old B-Roy,” Bayno said. “And the ball just got rolling from there and the rest was history.”

Roy busted onto the NBA scene in 2006 after a stellar career at the University of Washington that earned him the sixth overall pick in the ’06 NBA Draft. He immediately showed his scoring touch, averaging 16.8 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting as a rookie—earning him Rookie of the Year honors.

He went on to make three straight All-Star Game appearances from 2008-2010 and twice averaged more than 20 points per game during an NBA season. He averaged a career-high 22.6 points per game in 2008-09 and followed it up with a 21.5 points per game showing in 2009-10.

What Roy will be able to contribute in a Wolves uniform minutes-wise is yet to be seen. His knees are still untested over the course of an 82-game season, and having taken a year off he’ll need to re-acclimate himself to the NBA game.

But there are two facets of Roy’s signing that Bayno knows will affect the Wolves’ locker room regardless: His personality and his ability to mentor younger wing players.

“One of the best human beings I’ve ever coached,” Bayno said.

From a leadership standpoint, Bayno said Roy will help players like second-year forward Derrick Williams learn the perimeter game. Williams has spent much of the offseason dropping weight, working with Bayno in L.A. and trying to transition from the power forward to the small forward position.

“He’s going to help guys like Derrick Williams, helping them understand what it takes to be great in this league,” Bayno said. “And he can still play. He can still pick and roll, he can guard a lot of the betters 3s in this league, the iso players, the 1-on-1 players. And he’s very unselfish.”

He said having Roy on the roster will take a lot of pressure off forward Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio not needing to shoulder as much of the offensive workload. He said it will make both players more affective, especially in late-game situations. With Rubio using the pick and roll or Roy in isolation, it will give coach Rick Adelman more options and it will make the team better.

And Bayno expects Roy to bring that professional demeanor that made him an instant success in Portland right from the start.

“He was an instant superstar in the league right from the start, but he never let that go to his head,” Bayno said. “And he was a quiet leader. He is more prepared with his experience and what he’s gone through to be a more vocal leader now.”

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