It’s no secret that Wes Unseld Jr has not been productive as a head coach. Most fans of the Washington Wizards would even say that it’s the understatement of the year. The only award that will be anywhere close to Unseld Jr this season.
There were good reasons for hiring back when they named him the franchise’s latest head coach back in 2021. He was considered one of the best developmental coaches in the league due to his time as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, and Golden State Warriors. During this time, he helped develop some of the biggest stars in the game such as Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, and Tobias Harris. On top of this, he is the son of the late, great Wes Unseld, the greatest player in franchise history, also once a head coach and GM of the Wizards/Bullets.
Despite his resume and the importance of his name to the franchise, he has consistently proven that he is not capable of being the head coach of an NBA team since the Wizards hired him. He has underperformed in just about every area, even the aspects of coaching listed above.
He has led the Wizards to a 65-81 record as head coach. This record is likely to continue getting worse as he is not fixing any of the problems with the team as they continue to be mediocre in many areas.
Wes Unseld Jr does not create effective sets on offense.
Most of the time the Wizards offense is centered on isolation basketball with Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma, and occasionally Deni Avdija creating their own shots. The exceptions are almost entirely made of an incredibly basic pick ‘n’ roll play and sets that include two dribbles leading to a catch and shoot three from the wing.
This has caused the Wizards to rank in 15th in offensive rating. This is despite having three 20+ point per game scorers (two of which are incredibly efficient), the league leader in field goal percentage, and multiple elite shooters on the roster.
This team should have a much higher offensive rating, instead they end up sitting in mediocrity. How poetic of the Wizards.
If they ran a legitimate offensive gameplan, they would be a much heavier hitting team. Especially since they have one of the best clutch performers in the league. Combine a high caliber offense with the defensive potential this team has, and they could have been a true contender this season.
Fans can live behind iso plays at the end of games to limit turnovers, but to play like that nearly all game long is inexcusable. It will not lead to many wins.