Unseld Jr. likely to coach some Summer League; will Avdija play?


With the NBA conducting a more normal offseason this time around, that means the return of the Las Vegas Summer League, which is set to take place this year Aug. 8-17. Despite having a lot going on at the moment, including the draft on Thursday, the Wizards already have most of their plans in place ahead of the annual event.

Newly hired head coach Wes Unseld Jr. is likely to coach some games, a team source told NBC Sports Washington. Unseld Jr. is still filling out his staff and one of his assistants, perhaps one yet to be hired, would coach the rest of their schedule.

Cassius Winston and Caleb Homesely will be on the team, according to the team source. Winston was a second-round pick a year ago, but played only 98 minutes in the NBA last season and 15 games in the G-League bubble. It will be his first Summer League and it should be an important step for his development given how his rookie season was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The big question is whether Deni Avdija will play. The 2020 ninth overall pick was recently cleared by the team's medical staff after recovering from a fracture in his right ankle. 

The Wizards, though according to the team source, are wary of a setback and sound more likely to hold him out or possibly make him a limited participant. Though the Summer League would be helpful for his development as well, Avdija figures to play a key rotation role next season and the Summer League is taking place one month later than it normally would relative to the start of training camp.


The Wizards could instead track Avdija's progress in less organized settings, as teammates often convene in the offseason for informal workouts. The Wizards often have many players show up to Summer League to watch games sitting courtside and interact with team officials.

Whether Avdija plays or not, the Wizards should have an intriguing roster in Las Vegas with Winston, Homesely and whomever they select 15th overall in Thursday's draft. They may also acquire a second-round pick, as they have the past two seasons.

Plus, the possibility of Unseld Jr. coaching should be worth watching, as he could display the early signs of his system and philosophies.

More clarity on the Summer League roster should come by week's end with the draft on Thursday and the usual flurry of undrafted signings that follows. The Wizards will be active in the undrafted free agent market this offseason as they reinstall their G-League team, the Capital City Go-Go, after the league's hiatus last season.