Wes Unseld Jr. has accepted the offer to become the 25th head coach of the Washington Wizards.
Unseld worked 14 years for the franchise in the past and is the son of the team’s most important player in its history.
The Wizards are a long shot 80/1 to win the 2022 NBA championship.
The Washington Wizards have found their new head coach in former Denver Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr.
The team announced the hiring on Saturday and Unseld is expected to be introduced in a team press conference on Monday.
OFFICIAL: We’ve named Wes Unseld Jr. the 25th head coach in franchise history.
Welcome home, Coach! #DCAboveAll
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) July 17, 2021
Unseld completed two days of interviews in Washington D.C. on Friday, including one with Wizards team owner Ted Leonsis. The Wizards organization tendered an offer late Friday and Unseld accepted the job the following day.
His hiring in Washington is viewed as a homecoming of sorts. He was “raised” in the organization, working for 14 years in scouting and coaching positions before becoming one of the league’s top assistant head coaches. Aside from that, Unseld’s late father is the single most important figure in the history of the Washington/Baltimore NBA franchise.
Son of Washington/Baltimore Franchise Legend
A mountain of man, Unseld is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was MVP and Rookie of the Year in ’68-’69, a five-time All-Star, four-time NBA finalist and ’77-’78 champion with Washington. His son, Wes Unseld Jr., is an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets. https://t.co/z43XquDNEE
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2020
Unseld grew up in Maryland and attended Johns Hopkins from 1994 to 1997. He began his coaching coaching career in D.C. He spent six years as an assistant coach on the Wizards coaching staff from 2005-2011 before moving on to Golden State (2011-2012), Orlando (2012-2015), and the Nuggets whom he has been connected with since 2015.
Last year, Unseld was promoted to the role of Mike Malone’s associate head coach with the Nuggets and the team was pushing him to get his first head coaching gig. In recent weeks, Unseld’s name gained steam as one of the leading candidate for the Wizards’ head coaching job together with Bucks assistants Charlie Lee an Darvin Ham.
He is the son of former Hall-of-Famer Wes Unseld who played 13 years for the Washington/Baltimore franchise and spent over 20 years as head coach and executive before passing away in 2020. His father was the 1969 NBA MVP and the Finals MVP in 1978 when he led the Washington franchise to its first and only NBA championship.
2022 NBA Championships Odds
Odds for 2022 NBA Championship per @betonline_ag
Hawks with the 11th-best odds, better than Celtics, Mavs, and Knicks pic.twitter.com/GJ6WsVwWOw
— SportsTalkATL Alex (@GeauxSportsTalk) July 13, 2021
The Wizards have opened as a longshot 80/1 betting underdog to win the 2022 NBA title at online sportsbook BetOnline. But although they are in the Bottom 10 in the way-too-early odds boards, you can’t count out this Washington Wizards team from title contention.
Washington started out the 2020-21 season very slow as they were adjusting to Russell Westbrook. The Wizards had a 17-32 record after losing to the Toronto Raptors on April 6th but with Westbrook and Bradley Beal finding their chemistry late in the season, they closed out with a 17-6 mark and finished at 34-38 and just enough to enter the play-in tournament where they beat the Indiana Pacers to get the final ticket to the East playoffs.
They were eliminated by the top-seeded Sixers in the opening round of the postseason but with Beal and Westbrook expected to return next season and Thomas Bryant also coming back from injury, this Washington team in most certainly a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.