Wes Unseld Jr. Intends To Bring Defensive Success To Wizards

New coach Wes Unseld Jr. is more than just a name within the Wizards organization. He is someone with grand plans after arriving from his assistant job with the Nuggets.Wes Unseld Jr

”The defensive side of the ball has been an issue here. That’s an area where I’ve been charged with for the past five seasons,” he told reporters. ”It boils down to buy-in and commitment, and I think all parties involved, including the players, they know for us to take that next step — to really get to the level which we think we can attain — it’s going to take that commitment to that side of the ball.”

Unseld is the son of late Washington legend Wes Unseld, who dominated as a center and led the Bullets/Wizards to their lone title (1978) and last Finals appearance the following season. The older Unseld eventually served separate stints as coach and general manager.

”I know my dad’s up there smiling down,” Unseld Jr. said. ”He’s probably chuckling, thinking, ‘You moron, I told you not to do this.”’

Unseld has never been a head coach before, but does have plenty of experience, and was even an assistant with the Wizards (2005-11). He was also an assistant with the Magic and Warriors before joining Mike Malone and the Nuggets in 2015.

As for the Wizards, Unseld does indeed have a few things to work with, starting with the star-studded backcourt of Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.

Unseld takes over for Scott Brooks, who made the playoffs three times in Washington but lost in the first round twice, including this past season.

”The one thing that always stood out with Wes is his intelligence about the game, where the game’s headed, the modern NBA, and certainly his proficiency on the defensive side of the ball, which is an area that we absolutely must address immediately,” general manager Tommy Sheppard said.

”He worked with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson when they were young, with (Nikola) Vucevic, Tobias Harris, (Victor) Oladipo when he was in Orlando. And certainly you look at the MVP season that (Nikola) Jokic had — and Jokic was begging him not to leave Denver.”

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