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Zierden Hiring Announced

The Wizards issued a news release this afternoon confirming that Don Zierden has been hired as an assistant to head coach Flip Saunders.

As Michael Lee reported early today, Zierden is headed to Washington after resigning as head coach of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday.

Zierden worked under Saunders for five seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and later joined his staff with the Detroit Pistons in 2005-06. He has coached the Lynx the past two seasons. The Star-Tribune reports that Zierden was seen speaking with Saunders and Wizards assistant Randy Wittman at Target Center, where Saunders and Wittman were watching NBA draft prospects at the Timberwolves practice facility. Zierden's resignation came just four days before the WNBA season began.

From the news release:

"I know what kind of man and what kind of coach Don is from our time together in Minnesota, Detroit, La Crosse and Tulsa," said Saunders. "Don has an astute mind for the game of basketball, and that's why he's been a successful teacher at the high school ranks, in college, the CBA, the WNBA and the NBA. He brings a wealth of experience and ability to our staff."


Zierden comes to Washington after spending the previous two seasons as the head coach of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. Zierden's coaching career has also included time spent under Saunders with the Detroit Pistons (2005-06) and Minnesota Timberwolves (1999-2005), and his working relationship with Saunders extends through the years he served on Saunders' staff at the University of Tulsa (1986-88) and in the Continental Basketball Association with the La Crosse Catbirds (1990-94, including winning the 1992 CBA Championship). Additionally, Zierden has been the head coach of the CBA's Pittsburgh Piranhas (where he took Pittsburgh to the CBA Finals in 1995), and the La Crosse Bobcats.

"I couldn't pass on the opportunity to work with Flip again," said Zierden. "With the staff that he has assembled, and the great talent that is already in place on the roster, I'm extremely enthusiastic to get to Washington and to begin helping this team reach the next level on the court."

By Alexa Steele  |  June 3, 2009; 6:49 PM ET
 
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Comments

Ok, so what's Unseld Jr. in charge of? Coffee and donuts?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 3, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Mike Lee,

Any updates on where the team stands on potential draft picks? Anyone they really like or dont want anything to do with?

Posted by: DMoney28 | June 3, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

5 men to coach 12 men? I don't get it. Back in the day there were generally 2 coaches, plus the roster was bigger with "injured reserves". Seems overkill to me. Anywho, I hope they make an impact.

Posted by: garrybrown | June 3, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Unseld Jr. is hopefully in charge of only making photo copies.

Posted by: usiel3 | June 3, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Back in the day Van Gundy had SEVEN coaches when he was with the Knicks. If they get 14 coaches and win who cares?

Posted by: clwalker1906 | June 3, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

What is thid dude gonna do besides collecting a pay check?

Posted by: antoniologan | June 3, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

whateves....hope he knows defense

Posted by: toohoes | June 3, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Who is the big man coach. We need some one to teach Mcgee and Blatche.

Posted by: AWizinLA | June 3, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

"If they get 14 coaches and win who cares?

Posted by: clwalker1906 | June 3, 2009 9:37 PM "

If they have 1 coach and win, who cares?

Cuban had 20 coaches and still won nothing....I don't think Abe can outspend Cuban.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 3, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

DCMANN88:

Basically.

Posted by: glawrence007 | June 4, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Ok, so what's Unseld Jr. in charge of? Coffee and donuts?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 3, 2009 7:28 PM

LMAO! Ain't that what's he's been in charge of anyway?

Posted by: CBell29 | June 4, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Anybody would be an improvement over last season's assistants. They all looked so
distracted and uninterested on the bench. Truthfully they conveyed a feeling to me
that the wished they were somewhere else and now they will get that opportunity.

Posted by: minboden | June 4, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Did we ever replace our shooting coach (Popla)? I recall that a couple of years ago when he first got here that our team ft% went up to either #1 or#2 in the league. Even guys who were not good at the line improved (BTH, for example).

Here's Wes's bio...

http://www.nba.com/coachfile/wes_unseld_jr/index.html?nav=page

Maybe we should have traded him to the Lynx for the guy we got.

Posted by: original_mark | June 4, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Unseld Jr. is Abe's ace-in-the-hole, last resort, emergency coach. He's sticking around to pick up the crumbs left behind by other coaches. Unless Ernie and Flip grasp control of the situation early (and I doubt they will) you'll see Unseld Jr. in the huddles again...preparing for his future job.

Posted by: pryme54 | June 4, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I like Flip's hires and think that Unseld Jr. will be more of an advance scout than anything else or possibly a 'special assistant' to the front office. We still haven't hired a coach to work with our big men which is a concern to me. The Lakers have hired/utilized Kareem to work with Bynum on his game even though he isn't an official assistant coach. McGee, Blatche, and Pech all need one-on-one instruction from a bigman who knows the NBA game.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 4, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I like Flip's hires and think that Unseld Jr. will be more of an advance scout than anything else or possibly a 'special assistant' to the front office. We still haven't hired a coach to work with our big men which is a concern to me. The Lakers have hired/utilized Kareem to work with Bynum on his game even though he isn't an official assistant coach. McGee, Blatche, and Pech all need one-on-one instruction from a bigman who knows the NBA game.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 4, 2009 10:30 AM

I agree. Ive been saying that for years. We got 5 or 6 post players with no one to coach them. The only one who had any type of training was Brendan when Patrick was an assistant. Tony Massenburg is not a big man coach.

And maybe Unseld Jr. is Abe's eyes and ears. That would make more sense than him being anything else.

Posted by: CBell29 | June 4, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"We got 5 or 6 post players with no one to coach them."

Just because a guy is tall doesn't make him a post player. McGee, Blatche, and Pech nave no post skills to speak of. Trying to turn them into post players at this stage would essentially require breaking their games down to the foundation and starting over from scratch, which would be a several years long process that, given their various physical and attitudinal limitations, would almost certainly result in failure.

Pech is a long-range bomber (with faulty sights). Blatche is a face up combo forward. McGee is a jumping jack energy guy. None of them has the requisite skill set to be consistent low post presences.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Interesting rumor: Wizards get Stoudemire.

http://ktar.com/?sid=1175731&nid=624

Posted by: hamptonpirates89 | June 4, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The Phoenix rumor for Amare might real but not close to what that guy on ktar is yapping about. He's crazy. First, Boston does not need Amare -- it has Kendrick Perkins and KG, along with Big Baby. They could use another PF/C off the bench but that is not Amare -- and certainly not for Rondo and Ray Allen. Dumb.

As for the Wiz -- we would trade AJ and the #5 pick for Amare but we are not giving up the house for Amare. That makes no sense.

Posted by: Chad32 | June 4, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

What about Wes Unseld Sr to work with our big men?? Could we get anyone better than him?? A dominant and fundamental big man of his day, one of 50 NBA greatest, NBA championship, former head coach and GM. I know he had some health issue, but is he ok now, and why not bring him in to work with McGee, Haywood, Blatche etc?? Doesn't he still hang out at Verizon anyway??

Posted by: Darnell1 | June 4, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

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