A new candidate for the Clippers’ vacant head coaching spot has entered the ring! Mike Singer of the Denver Post broke the news just an hour ago that the Clippers were scheduled to interview Nuggets assistant head coach Wes Unseld Jr. today. In addition to interviewing for the Clippers’ role, Unseld has also interviewed for the Rockets’ head coaching gig.

Unseld is of course the son of NBA Hall of Fame player Wes Unseld Sr., who played for the Washington Bullets (now Wizards) in the 1960s and 1970s. Unseld Jr. played basketball at the local Johns Hopkins, but never played profesionally. Instead, he jumped straight to the NBA on the personnel side, serving as a scout with the Wizards for eight years before being promoted to assistant head coach. He then operated as an assistant with them for another handful of years (and coached the Washington Mystics as well) before leaving in 2011.

After leaving Washington, Unseld went to Golden State, where he operated for one year under Mark Jackson. He then went to the Magic, where he coached under Jacque Vaughn for a few years before being fired in 2015. That summer, he was invited to join the Nuggets by his good friend Tim Connelly, and has been there since.

Notably, Unseld has not only a lot of experience as a coach and scout, but has operated in many functions as an assistant. In his Wizards’ years, he was known as an offensive guru, someone who helped design schemes and tactics on that side of the ball. In Denver, his prominence has mainly been as a defensive strategist, with his efforts being given great credit for building a decent defense around Nikola Jokic. He’s also been given kudos as a player development guy (something the Clippers desire), and has helped with the growth of Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr.

In short, Unseld is a highly qualified lead assistant, and a very widely regarded coach around the NBA. He has interviewed for head coaching positions before, though none quite this prominent, and is frequently mentioned as one of the most promising assistants in the NBA. It’s impossible to know how well his skills might translate to the head coaching chair, but he’s about a good a candidate as anyone, and it’s a great sign that the Clippers are interviewing him.

The Clippers have given an interview to Wes Unseld Jr., Ty Lue, Darvin Ham, and Mike Brown, an overall talented and diverse group. We will keep you posted on the Clippers’ continuing search for a head coach as things develop, but no hire seems imminent as of right now.

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5 Comments

  • Avatar Alan Ng says:

    Sounds like a development coach.
    However, if he could scheme with this current roster, I just hope he could gain respect from the locker room.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    I’ve seen his name around for the last few seasons as basically “promising young assistant w/ HC potential,” so he seems like the type of candidate you’d want to interview. I’m glad to see the Clips are doing their due diligence and not just limiting their search to retreads (*cough Mike Brown cough cough*).

  • Scriabin Scriabin says:

    Hopefully they’re just waiting for the Finals to be over so they can grab one of Miami’s assistants.