Wes Unseld Jr. has coached the Washington Wizards to an early 5-1 record. It is the best start for the Washington Wizards in 16 years. The Wizards are performing better than expected in the tough Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the NBA. After so many years of losing, injuries, and negative talk of the franchise, the Washington Wizards are now sitting quite pretty. The test will be how Wes Unseld Jr. and the Washington Wizards will be consistent, if at all.
The son of a famous father who won the 1978 NBA championship with the Washington Bullets, Wes Unseld Jr. has a shoulder chip to prove he belongs. It would appear the Washington Wizards have the correct leadership in place to eventually become a true contender in the East. After so much talk of where Bradley Beal would land, there is a resolution in Washington that is emphatic and it all starts with Wes Unseld Jr.
Wes Unseld Jr.
The last time the Washington Wizards were 5-1, Wes Unseld was in his first year as an assistant with the team. He's worked for his dad when Wes Unseld was an executive with the team, and has done scouting for the WNBA along stops in Denver, Golden State, and Orlando. In July, Wes Unseld signed a four-year deal to coach the Washington Wizards. With the Denver Nuggets, Wes Unseld is credited with developing Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
Washington Wizards culture
Some of the best times covering the NBA were during the competitive Washington Wizards vs. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Washington Wizards were a nice stop along the NBA media road until the drama with Gilbert Arenas happened. Since then, the Washington Wizards have tried so many lineups, stars, combinations and coaches, and only now should Washington Wizards fans come up for air, but not yet.
Having said that, here are the three main talking points from the Wizards' stellar start to the campaign under Wes Unseld Jr.
#3 The communicator
Wes Unseld Jr. has been around the Washington Wizards long enough to know what it takes within the organization. He's been in DC off and on, and was around for all that drama of the last decade focused on Gilbert Arenas. He's talked to John Wall and Russell Westbrook, has to get in sync with Bradley Beal, and knows he must be able to communicate with his players if the culture is to be changed in Washington. Former players of his or those who've played under the coaches he's assisted say that Wes Unseld really took his role seriously to drive sense into Gilbert Arenas' head whenever he flew off the handle. That experience has surely given Wes Unseld the mettle to get through anything with any team ever.
Bradley Beal is averaging 24.4 points per game. Montrez Harrell is 5th in points scored in the paint with 14.4 per game (Ja Morant leads) and is shooting 61% from the field. He's also third on the Washington Wizards in scoring at 19.3 per game. Spencer Dinwiddie is second, averaging 19.8 points per; Kyle Kuzma is putting in 15.3 points and 11.3 rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is shooting well behind the line and contributes 9.5 points per game. What Wes Unseld has done to build a winner early on is nothing short of remarkable given the offseason GM Tommie Sheppard has had regarding all the Bradley Beal rumors.
#1 The winner
Wes Unseld Jr., has repeated that his Washington Wizards are not satisfied with a fast start. Satisfaction brings complacency, and that is not what Wes Unseld Jr. wants. He does want to build a winner. Having a Hall of Fame dad - who won a title with the Washington Bullets - gives him all the incentive he needs to win in DC. He is a straight no chaser coach who stresses fundamentals, cohesion, and responsibility.
Also Read: What is Bradley Beal's Net Worth in 2021?
Q. Will the Washington Wizards make the playoffs under Wes Unseld Jr.?