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Wizards predictions for 2024: Wes Unseld, Jr will not be the head coach by next year’s end

The Wizards’ head coach hasn’t had a successful start. After two mediocre seasons and a new front office, it’s possible that the Wizards’ front office could look elsewhere.

Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards
I predict that Wes Unseld, Jr. will no longer be the Wizards’ head coach by the time 2024 ends.
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The 2023 calendar year is almost over. I will do an annual review of the year that almost was in a bit. But in the meantime, let’s take a look at what 2024 may have to offer us.

I am no Nostradamus and I have no crystal ball whatsoever. But I certainly like making some hypothetical predictions on what could happen in the year ahead with the Washington Wizards.

First up: I predict that the Wizards will make a change at head coach next calendar yer.

Wes Unseld, Jr. will be fired sometime in 2024

Why: In two and a half seasons, Unseld has led Washington to two 35-win regular seasons, no postseason appearances, and could lead the Wizards to their worst-ever regular season in franchise history.

It goes beyond the simple wins and losses. The Wizards have lost several winnable games this season after holding double digit leads in the second half. And they blew a 35-point lead against the Los Angeles Clippers in Jan. 2022. Yikes!

In addition, Unseld was hired by then-General Manager Tommy Sheppard. With Sheppard gone, he’s only in Washington because current General Manager Will Dawkins was willing to give Unseld another year to figure things out … or because Dawkins hasn’t found a new head coach yet to his liking.

When new front offices come to town, the coaching staff in place is on notice. And I’m actually surprised that Unseld is still the head coach right now to be honest. Then again, perhaps Dawkins and Monumental Basketball President Michael Winger couldn’t find a better head coach to replace Unseld with behind the scenes.

Am I bashing Unseld? No. I just don’t think Unseld should have been the Wizards’ apparent first choice for head coach before the 2021-22 season. Before he came to D.C., Unseld was the lead assistant for the Denver Nuggets and he was getting multiple head coach interviews. If Unseld became a head coach for another team, I think most of us would be happy about it.

But ultimately, the Wizards wanted Unseld, and got him. Unseld also shares the same name as the Greatest Wizard of All Time, some fans, myself included, just feel that it’s a nepotism hire, especially if the Wizards didn’t hit the ground running. From hindsight, it’s hard to say that the perception of this hire isn’t.

When this prediction could come true: The most logical time to let Unseld go is after the end of the 2023-24 NBA season in April. Given that the Wizards were predicted to be the NBA’s worst team this season, they are overachieving because the Detroit Pistons are on an NBA record losing streak. But again, Dawkins doesn’t have a head coach that he specifically hired, even if he gave Unseld an extension. And I’d imagine that he and Winger would like to see the Wizards perform a bit better than they have earlier this season where they blew several double digit leads.

The second most logical time to let Unseld go is to fire him after a poor start in the 2024-25 NBA season, especially if Unseld isn’t extended by then. The 2024-25 season is Unseld’s last on his current contract.

Why would this prediction NOT come true? The Wizards have not fired a head coach midseason since 2012 when they let go of the late Flip Saunders. Randy Wittman and Scott Brooks, the Wizards’ last two head coaches were let go with the Wizards letting their contracts expire and not re-signing them to a new deal.

Assuming Monumental Sports & Entertainment still intends to stay on this type of path, the earliest Unseld would be let go is after the 2024-25 season. That would mean April 2025, not sometime in 2024.

But considering that the Wizards may want to have a competitive team by 2028 when the planned Alexandria arena opens, it may be wise for Washington to find their head coach, whoever he or she is, sooner rather than later.

Do you agree that the Wizards will fire Wes Unseld, Jr. sometime in the 2024 calendar year? Let us know in the comments below!