Wes Unseld Jr.
Wes Unseld Jr (cropped).jpg
Unseld with the Washington Wizards in 2021
Washington Wizards
PositionHead coach
Personal information
Born (1975-09-20) September 20, 1975 (age 46)
Catonsville, Maryland
Career information
High schoolLoyola (Towson, Maryland)
CollegeJohns Hopkins (1994–1997)
NBA draft1997 / Undrafted
Coaching career2005–present
Career history
As coach:
2005–2011Washington Wizards (assistant)
2011–2012Golden State Warriors (assistant)
2012–2015Orlando Magic (assistant)
2015–2021Denver Nuggets (assistant)
2021–presentWashington Wizards

Westley Sissel Unseld Jr. (born September 20, 1975) is an American professional basketball coach who is the head coach for the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is the son of Wes Unseld, a Basketball Hall of Fame member who was a player, coach, and executive also with Washington.

Early life and education

Unseld was born on September 20, 1975, and grew up in Catonsville, Maryland.[1][2][3] At a young age, he developed a close attachment to basketball; his father is Basketball Hall of Fame member Wes Unseld. From the age of five, he was in locker rooms with his father before games, and after drove home with him. As an adult, he remembers "a great family atmosphere in the locker room".[4] He played high school basketball as a center at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland. His skill set as a center did not carry over to the backcourt,[1] as he continued on with college basketball for four years at Johns Hopkins University, graduating in 1997.

Coaching career

Washington Wizards (2005–2011)

Unseld went directly from college to the NBA, starting as a personnel scout for the Washington Wizards, working for his father who was general manager. He had planned to go to graduate school after graduation but decided to give basketball one year to see if he would enjoy it.[5] In his ninth year, after eight years of personnel and advance scouting, he was promoted to assistant coach.[4] Unseld has been given credit for creating Washington's offensive game plan, which led to three consecutive top-ten offensive seasons from 2004 to 2007.[5] He also worked as a scout and assistant coach for the Washington Mystics of the WNBA.[6]

Golden State Warriors (2011–2012)

In 2011, Unseld Jr. left the Wizards for the Golden State Warriors after being denied a position as a front row bench coach.[7]

Orlando Magic (2012–2015)

After one season with the Warriors, Unseld went to the Orlando Magic as an assistant coach in 2012.[8] After a 15–37 start to the 2014–2015 season Unseld was fired, along with coach Jacque Vaughn, in February, 2015.[9]

Denver Nuggets (2015–2021)

When his lifelong friend, Tim Connelly, became general manager of the Denver Nuggets in 2015, he offered Unseld a job as an assistant coach. In 2016 he was made lead assistant coach.[10] His special assignment had been to manage a defense that had been poor; the Nuggets went from 28th in defense in 2017–18 to 10th in the 2018–19 season.[5] He has been credited with the development of Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr.[11] In 2019, he interviewed for the vacant Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching job, but did not get the job.[12] From 2018 until 2021, Denver ranked among the top six in defensive efficiency.[13]

Return to the Wizards (2021–present)

Unseld Jr. signed a four-year contract to become the head coach of the Washington Wizards on July 17, 2021.[14][15]

Head coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Washington[16] 2021–22 82 35 47 .427 4th in Southeast Missed playoffs
Career 82 35 47 .427   - - -  


  1. ^ a b Baker, Kent. "He's not a self-centered center Loyola's Unseld Jr. fits team concept". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  2. ^ "Wes Unseld Jr. didn't get the Wizards job because of who his dad is. He grinded for 24 years". The Washington Post. July 19, 2021. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  3. ^ @WashWizards (September 20, 2021). "Happy birthday to Coach Unseld!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ a b "Hopkins? grad Unseld went straight to the NBA". Washington Examiner. April 22, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c A lifelong friendship Retrieved March 24, 2020
  6. ^ Manning, Chris (May 2, 2019). "Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. to interview for Cavs head coaching job". Fear The Sword. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Digest, Sports. "Unseld Jr. expected to leave Wizards for Warriors". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  8. ^ Dunlap, Evan (August 30, 2012). "Magic Name Assistant Coaches". Orlando Pinstriped Post. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  9. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff. "Jacque Vaughn fired by Orlando Magic". USA TODAY. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  10. ^ "Wes Unseld, Jr., Denver Nuggets, Lead Assistant Coach - RealGM". basketball.realgm.com. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  11. ^ O'Donnell, Jim (August 14, 2020). "Jim O'Donnell: Is Wes Unseld Jr. the curse breaker for the Bulls?". Daily Herald. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  12. ^ Report, Bleacher (May 11, 2019). "Cavs HC Rumors: Jordi Fernandez, Wes Unseld Jr., More Interview for Vacant Job". www.chatsports.com. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  13. ^ Charania, Josh Robbins and Shams. "Wes Unseld Jr. emerges as serious candidate for Orlando Magic's coaching job". The Athletic. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  14. ^ "Wizards name Wes Unseld Jr. head coach". NBA.com. July 17, 2021. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  15. ^ Wojnarowski, Adrian. "Washington Wizards hire Wes Unseld Jr. as new head coach". ESPN. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  16. ^ "Washington Wizards Basketball - Wizards News, Scores, Stats, Rumors & More". Espn.com. Retrieved February 9, 2022.