Bulls news: Chicago lands coach with mixed defensive record

Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards
Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Chicago Bulls have plenty of questions to answer this summer but were able to cross one off the list. 

After losing two assistants to other teams, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he was looking for assistants with previous head coaching on their resume according to NBA Sports Chicago, and he found one in Wes Unseld Jr. 

Unseld Jr. was most recently the head coach of the Washington Wizards, where he went 77-130 overseeing one of the league’s worst teams. Artūras Karnišovas is very familiar with Unseld Jr's work after their time together in Denver, where Unseld Jr. was an assistant coach from 2015-2021.

Unseld Jr. has head coaching experience but has an up and down record when it comes to defense, an area the Chicago Bulls need to improve. 

Chicago Bulls news: Wes Unseld Jr’s defensive record 

Unseld Jr. was hired by Denver specifically to improve their defense and he did. The Nuggets went from bottom of the league in defense to top-10 in one season, and Unseld Jr. was given a lot of credit for that improvement. 

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He had the Nuggets in the top six in defensive efficiency in every season after that, a record that got him several head coaching interviews. 

Unseld Jr. finally got his shot with the Wizards and things went downhill from there, especially on the defensive side. 

The Wizards did improve slightly in defensive efficiency from 25th to 20th under Unseld Jr., not a dramatic jump but it’s hard to fault him when he inherited a team that was already a mess. 

The Bulls were just 21st in defensive efficiency this season, 19th in opponent field goal percentage and 20th in opponent 3-point percentage. They were surprisingly very good at defending the paint, finishing the season 1st in the NBA points in the paint allowed, so the Bulls are not hopeless, and like the situation Unseld Jr. was in in Denver, have some guys who can play defense. 

This should be a good hire for the Bulls, who can use a coach with a history of improving a team’s defense.  

That’s one thing checked off the “to do” list, now comes the much more difficult task of fixing the roster.