Wizards

10 head coaching candidates for Wizards to consider

Wizards

Now that the Wizards have parted ways with Scott Brooks, they are in need of a new head coach. Before they begin the interview process, here are 10 names they could consider...

Wes Unseld Jr.

Currently an assistant for the Denver Nuggets, Unseld has long been tied to the Wizards as a potential head coaching candidate of the future. He's an assistant on the rise coaching a very good team, he used to work for the organization and is the son of the greatest player in franchise history, the Hall-of-Fame legend Wes Unseld who passed away last year. Unseld was a great player for the franchise, but also served as their head coach and general manager.

Sam Cassell

Cassell is currently an assistant for the Philadelphia 76ers, who eliminated the Wizards from the playoffs earlier this month. He has interviewed for head coaching jobs, but has yet to get his own. Cassell was a Wizards assistant for five years and is close with Bradley Beal, who spent his first few seasons in the NBA under Cassell's tutelage.

Becky Hammon

Hammon has been studying under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio for years and this season became the first woman to serve as the head coach in an NBA game. She has been on track to land a head coaching job and has interviewed for a few openings, including this offseason. It seems likely that at some point she will get the opportunity to coach a team and make history. Maybe it will be with the Wizards.

 

Mark Jackson

Jackson hasn't been a coach since he left the Warriors in 2014 and has instead been working as a broadcaster at the highest level, calling NBA Finals games. But he's been rumored over the years to have an interest in returning to coaching and happens to go way back with Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard. Sheppard began his career with the Nuggets back when Jackson was a player. Jackson had very nice things to say about Sheppard back in 2019 when he was in the running for Wizards GM.

Kenny Atkinson

The former head coach of the Nets before they signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Atkinson would bring some valuable experience to the table. He led a Brooklyn team known for playing hard and maximizing its talent. He's currently an assistant for the Clippers.

Chauncey Billups

If the Wizards opt to choose someone who has no head coaching experience, it could be a relative risk, as the Pacers showed this season. But not all first-time head coaches come into the locker room on a level playing field. Billups would bring the reputation as a former All-Star and NBA champion. He's currently an assistant for the Clippers, but is interviewing for other vacancies.

Mike D'Antoni

D'Antoni left Houston last offseason to become an assistant on Steve Nash's staff with Brooklyn. He's already a candidate for other openings, though, and would definitely bring plenty of experience to the table. What would be interesting is how he could potentially take Beal's game to the next level, having coached James Harden during his rise to superstardom. He also coached Russell Westbrook for one season in Houston.

Robert Pack

The Wizards could look at some internal options, including associate head coach Tony Brown, who previously spent time as the interim head coach in Brooklyn. But Pack would also be intriguing given he's been an NBA assistant for over a decade, used to play for the organization and happens to have a close relationship with Westbrook. Clearly, Westbrook's endorsement wasn't enough to save Brooks' job, but he would likely have nice things to say if they asked him about Pack, given how closely they worked together this season.

Mike Budenholzer

If the Bucks end up disappointing in this year's playoffs, perhaps Budenholzer would become available. If so, he would have an impressive resume for the Wizards to consider with two 60-win seasons and two conference finals appearances. He was the coach of the 2014-15 Hawks who won 60 games and reached the conference finals with no true superstar on the roster. He would bring a defensive mindset to the Wizards with a strong track record of getting the most out of his players.

College coaches

It's possible the Wizards only look at the NBA ranks for their next head coach, but there could be some intriguing options in college basketball. Juwan Howard played for the organization and is having a lot of success at the University of Michigan. Tony Bennett of UVA is one of the most successful coaches in college basketball, is a former NBA player and coaches in nearby Charlottesville.