Longtime NBA assistant Wes Unseld Jr. is now the new head coach for the Washington Wizards. Unseld Jr. becomes the 25th head coach in the franchise’s history. They’ve agreed to a four-year deal via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard had this to say about the hiring:
“Wes is one of the most highly-regarded assistant coaches in the NBA and clearly separated himself from the large and diverse group of candidates we considered. His strong record as an in-game tactician along with his attention to detail on both sides of the ball, combined with his reputation for player development and outstanding character during his 20+ years of coaching left no doubt that he was the best choice to guide our team to the next level.”
Unseld Jr. was with the Denver Nuggets for six seasons prior to taking this job. Last season he was their assistant coach and the Nuggets finished third in the Western Conference with a 47-25 record. They also made the playoffs the past three seasons, including a 54-win 2018-2019 campaign.
He has also had stints with the Orlando Magic during the 2012-14 season and the Golden State Warriors 2011-2012 season. During his NBA assistant coaching journey, he has worked and helped develop Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Jokic, and Jamal Murray.
“I want to thank Tommy and Mr. Leonsis for the opportunity to lead this talented team both on and off the court and to continue moving the franchise in a positive direction. Becoming a head coach in the NBA is a goal that I have pursued my entire adult life and to have that dream realized by coming full circle back to Washington is truly special. I look forward to representing the DMV, connecting with our fans and establishing a new standard for Wizards basketball.” – Wes Unseld Jr.
Back in 1997 Unseld Jr. began his career with the Washington Wizards as an advance/pro scout. He continued that role until 2005 and moved up to an assistant coach. He was a part of the franchise when they made four consecutive playoffs during the 2005-2008 season.
NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld is the father of Wes Unseld Jr. Unseld lead Washington to their only NBA Championship back in 1978 against the Seattle Supersonics. He was also named the NBA Finals MVP as the Bullets won the series 4-3.