Bulls News: What does Wes Unseld Jr. bring to the table?
Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports

Bulls News: What does Wes Unseld Jr. bring to the table?

by - Senior Writer -

Lost in the translation of arguably one of the better NBA playoffs in quite some time, the Chicago Bulls made their first of plenty of offseason moves. Despite this not being a move you would think of when the season ended, President of Operations Arturas Karnisovas finally admitted following the season that changes need to be made throughout this roster.

That includes the coaching staff, where Billy Donovan fired two assistant coaches, including his lead assistants, Chris Fleming and Maurice Cheeks, who had been with him since his Oklahoma City days. It took just over a week for Donovan to find his new top assistant, and it comes as a bit of a surprise, as Wes Unseld Jr. has been hired by the Chicago Bulls to become the team's top assistant.

This move came moments after Josh Longstaff announced he would be leaving the Bulls staff to join Charles Lee in Charlotte as this team still needs two additional assistants on their staff. Unseld is coming to the Bulls after spending the past two-plus seasons as the Washington Wizards head coach, where things went differently than planned.

During his time with the Wizards, Unseld posted a 77-130 record, including a 7-36 mark this season, before being removed from his head coaching duties. His previous two seasons weren't anything great, but at least they were more competitive, going 35-47 in each of those seasons. What stands out the most about this hire is that Unseld was part of Michael Malone's staff with the Denver Nuggets for six seasons, which means he knows Karnisovas very well.

Could that be the ultimate reason why he ended up in Chicago? Maybe, but you don't want to think about that when you look at Karnisovas' track record since joining the Bulls. When it was announced that Donovan was looking for new coaches, experienced coaches were one of the things he put on his list, one of the boxes that Unseld checks off.

Not only does he have two-plus seasons as a head coach, but he also has 16 years of NBA coaching experience as an assistant and was one of the fastest-rising assistants heading into when he got the Washington job. Unseld was also a finalist for the Bulls opening before hiring Donovan, so he has had some connections with the organization for years. While his experience is something Donovan was looking for, what else does he bring to the table?

Unseld is coming into an organization where he has that connection with Karnisovas, but also has three years of coaching experience with Nikola Vucevic while in Orlando. That was when Vucevic was at his best as a player, so you have to wonder if bringing him in will help him get back to some form of that next season.

Another thing that Unseld has done well as a head coach or even as an assistant coach is his ability to develop players and hire excellent assistant coaches. Those two fall hand in hand together as the Bulls have struggled to develop players since Donovan has been here. Considering how long it took Coby White to reach the level he played at this season and seeing how much Patrick Williams has struggled since he was drafted, the hope is that Unseld can come in here and develop the young guys to the point where they become critical pieces for this team.

The hiring of coaches is another thing to keep an eye on. For the first time since Karnisovas has been here, this feels like an AK hire rather than a Donovan hire. If that is the case, could this be the move to replace Donovan should he continue to struggle as the head coach of this team? That is something to consider, especially when you look at his connection to Karnisovas, his ability to develop players, and his ability to hire quality assistants.

The Bulls organization has lacked all three of those things the past several seasons, and this is the direction they are hoping to get, too. It will be curious to see what other moves will round out the Bulls staff, but you have to at least like this move for the sole purpose that this move falls into the development of young players.

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