A familiar face was on the bench Monday at Cox Pavilion.
Former UNLV coach Bill Bayno was in town as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ summer league coaching staff. Bayno, who spent six years with the Portland Trail Blazers, left last fall to join Rick Adelman in the Twin Cities.
Not many NBA teams give assistant coaches multiyear deals. But Bayno, who has built a strong reputation for his ability to work with and develop young players, was given a four-year contract last fall by Wolves president David Kahn.
“It’s been unbelievable,” said Bayno, who coached UNLV from 1995 to 2000. “In coaching, there’s so many ways to get it done. I spent six years with a great coach in Nate McMillan. Now, I’m working with another great coach in Rick Adelman. His style is different than Nate’s, but, like Nate, he lets his assistants coach and he gives us a ton of latitude.”
Bayno said Adelman seeks his input. But he remains true to his initial coaching roots in working one-on-one with players.
“I’ll always be a development guy,” he said. “But I’m involved with everything and it’s a great situation for me to learn from Rick. He’s been terrific.”
Now 50, Bayno said a return to college coaching is unlikely.
“I think I’ve found the right place to be,” he said of the NBA, where he’ll be starting his eighth season as an assistant coach. “It’s so much different than college. There’s less stress. You don’t have to worry about recruiting, or worrying about parents or the NCAA. It’s just basketball.”
■ SULLINGER HOLDING UP – The Boston Celtics made their Vegas Summer League debut and first-round pick Jared Sullinger was on the floor and playing well.
The former Ohio State forward who battled back problems in college showed a soft touch and an explosive first step against the Atlanta Hawks at Cox Pavilion. Sullinger compiled 14 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes as the Celtics rolled, 87-69.
“I’m getting into better shape,” said Sullinger, who said he intends to play in the remaining four games in Las Vegas this week. “Everything’s starting to come easier for me.”
■ FREDETTE AWAKENS – After struggling in his first couple of games at Cox Pavilion, Sacramento’s Jimmer Fredette rediscovered his game inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
With current UNLV coach and former Brigham Young assistant Dave Rice in attendance, Fredette scored 30 points against Houston in a 113-91 loss.
Fredette shot 10 of 21 from the floor, 2 of 6 on 3-point tries and 8-for-8 from the foul line. In his first two games, he was a combined 5 of 22 from the floor and 1 of 14 from 3-point range.
Maybe the familiarity of playing inside the Thomas & Mack woke him up. Or maybe someone told Fredette the Kings had acquired point guard Aaron Brooks earlier in the day.
■ LAKERS MAKE HISTORY – The Los Angeles Lakers’ abysmal showing in Las Vegas reached new depths when they were routed by Miami 106-56, setting a summer league record for the worst margin of defeat.
The old mark was 48 points, held by the Toronto Raptors, who lost to the Celtics 110-62 on July 11, 2006.
In three games, all losses, the Lakers’ average margin of defeat has been 34 points.
Los Angeles is back in action at 3:30 p.m. today at the Thomas & Mack against the San Antonio Spurs.