Not firing Wes Unseld Jr
After two underwhelming seasons of 35 wins, Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr was in a precarious position. Despite intentions of being a competitive team, the Wizards continued to be a poor defensive team, and young players didn’t show any meaningful development. There wasn’t much Unseld Jr did that could be pointed to as success in his two-season tenure. There was a growing expectation that the new front office would bring in a coach of their choice to replace Unseld Jr.
That, however, didn’t happen. In fact, Winger and Dawkins reiterated their faith in Unseld Jr by picking up his fourth-year option. At every possible juncture, they demonstrated their trust in Unseld Jr as a coach.
Perhaps, they had a point. Unseld Jr had a reputation as a development-focused coach and could have thrived in a development-centric, low-stress season. Plus, the team wasn’t trying to win games this season, so why pay two coaches? You could just wait to evaluate Unseld Jr and have him finish his contract.
Things didn’t go according to plan. The Wizards are miserable in all the expected ways. They are the worst defensive team in the league, and regularly struggle with effort and intensity. They lose in a blowout fashion more than any other team in the NBA. Jordan Poole looks completely lost, Corey Kispert and Daniel Gafford have plateaued, and Johnny Davis has regressed to the point of being out of rotation.
All of this makes one thing extremely clear: instead of going into this lost season with a coach who is clearly not the coach of the future for this team, the Wizards should have brought in a new face and had a fresh start to the new era.