3 coaches Wizards should move to hire immediately after Wes Unseld Jr. removal

Wes Unseld Jr. is out as the Washington Wizards' head coach. Here are a few strong replacements.

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The Washington Wizards officially moved on from Wes Unseld Jr. as head coach on Thursday. The 48-year-old will move to a front office role, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. He spent roughly two and a half years on the Washington sideline, with a record of 77-130.

It's difficult to blame Unseld for the lopsided record, of course, as the Wizards have been aimless for a while. The end of the Bradley Beal era officially arrived in 2023-24, but Washington was essentially rebuilding during the last couple years of Beal's tenure, too. Washington's front office is to blame for the personnel shortcomings. The Wizards haven't botched the NBA Draft necessarily, but they haven't aced it either. As far as veterans go, Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Poole were never going to lead a respectable team.

The next coach will inherit some quality pieces. Bilal Coulibaly is Washington's future. Deni Avdija checks a lot of boxes on the wing. Corey Kispert is a rotation piece. The Wizards don't have the clear No. 1 star of their future yet, but Coulibaly is going to compete for All-Defense honors one day and he's already popping as 3-point shooter. So, there's at least a strong No. 2 on the roster. Daniel Gafford, Tyus Jones, and Kuzma call all yield positive assets on the trade market. We should expect Washington to improve its picks cache over the next couple weeks.

While Washington won't win in the near future, the right coach can help the Wizards develop winning habits while maximizing each prospect in their role. Here are the best options currently on the market.

3. Wizards can swing for offensive guru Mike D'Antoni

Mike D'Antoni has been in and out of consideration for a few jobs in recent years. At 72 years old, he is probably closer to retirement than the Wizards are comfortable with. A young roster tends to demand a young coach, at least in theory. Heck, there's a more than even chance D'Antoni is done coaching in a featured role. Would he even want to take over the 7-36 Wizards?

Well, they should at least ask. D'Antoni doesn't get enough credit for being the mastermind between two historic, game-changing offenses in Phoenix and Houston. D'Antoni has rewired the collective NBA psyche and pushed offensive imagination to new heights. Just as much as the Golden State Warriors, D'Antoni and the Harden-era Rockets are responsible for the evolution of today's 3-point era.

D'Antoni built his most successful teams around elite guard play. Steve Nash thrived in the Suns' up-tempo, SSOL offense. The Rockets hit the pause button and focused on isos, allowing James Harden and Chris Paul to methodically break down even the best defenses. The Wizards are, um, less equipped in the backcourt. Jordan Poole probably shouldn't have free rein over Washington's halfcourt sets. That said, there's reason to believe D'Antoni can get the Wizards' offense clicking it ways it currently does not.

Defense is a famous concern with D'Antoni, but those Houston teams were always rock-solid on that end. He has never really been head coach in such a dire rebuild, but the Wizards can bank on D'Antoni's offensive expertise and decades of NBA experience to get the most out of the roster.