According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and confirmed by several other reports, Denver Nuggets associate head coach Wes Unseld Jr. is in discussions with the Washington Wizards to become the next head coach in the DC area.
The Washington Wizards are offering Denver Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld, Jr., the franchise’s head coaching job and sides are beginning contract talks soon expected to result in his hiring, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 16, 2021
After several years as an assistant under Nuggets coach Michael Malone in Denver, Unseld Jr., the son of former Washington Wizards legend Wes Unseld, will take over for the organization is father played for during a storied Hall of Fame career.
Unseld Jr. first entered the NBA as a personnel scout under his father, then the general manager of the Wizards. After spending eight years in scouting, Unseld Jr. was promoted to assistant coach within the organization and spent additional years honing his craft. In 2011, after 14 years with the Wizards organization, Unseld Jr. went to coach for the Golden State Warriors for a season, then the Orlando Magic for a few more.
In 2015, Unseld Jr. made his way to the Nuggets organization, serving as an assistant under Malone for an additional six years. During that time, Unseld Jr. was credited with developing excellent player development, relationship, and defensive coaching skills, and it earned him multiple opportunities to interview for head coaching positions during the last couple of years.
Now, it seems that Unseld Jr. will get his wish, and he will be coaching for the organization that saw him grow into the coach he would ultimately become.
Wes Unseld, Jr., earned his opportunity through more than a decade’s work as a pro scout and assistant coach, most recently in Denver. But there’s no question he’s a sentimental favorite for many in the organization as well, given the continued love & respect for his late father.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) July 16, 2021
Unseld Jr. will have a difficult task ahead of him. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook formed a strong guard tandem, but there are questions about the long term prospects of both players with the organization as well as the upward trajectory, including whether such a trajectory exists. With a roster that already has significant money tied up with Beal, Westbrook, and Davis Bertans, it will take a strong coach to utilize whatever resources the front office will be able to provide, from developing younger draft picks to maximizing the potential of flawed options.
However, Unseld Jr. should be more than up for the task. Whether he’s connecting with star players or helping younger players grow into something more, Unseld Jr. has significant experience in all aspects of the organizational timeline, and he has the mentality to weather the impending storms as well. As long as the Wizards commit to Unseld Jr., his time in Denver is proof enough that he can work some magic with the Washington Wizards organization.
Congratulations to Wes! Nuggets Nation is excited for you, and we can’t wait to see you do great things in your hometown.