Best Nba Coaches Of All Time – Success can be defined in many ways, and just because someone on this list has won 1 or more Coach of the Year awards or titles, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve had a successful career. Some coaches were brilliant masterminds, others were poor, and the best didn’t know when to add the right players and create a good system, but brought in and created the best on the roster. Excellent chemistry
1952 games / 935 wins / 1017 losses / 2-time conference championship / Coach of the Year (1971) / NBA Championship (1978)
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Ever heard the saying “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings”? He kept it alive after winning the seventh game in the final. Motta wasn’t a terrible coach, he just couldn’t stay consistent and had some unfortunate streaks. In his 25 seasons as a coach, 13 of them have been losing seasons, the fourth most by a coach.
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He had the golden touch and coached winning seasons in 22/27. After a stint coaching in the CBA, he joined the NBA and coached the Cavs in 1984, helping them to the playoffs in his first year, but was fired the following year after a disappointing record, and Bucks scout became. In ’86 he coached the Warriors and led them to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, he left after the Warriors traded away their best players without consulting him and he returned to the CBA to coach the supporters. He has a record of 50-6.
In ’92 he took the Sonics coaching job and led them to 7 straight playoffs, returned as coach and GM with the Bucks, rebuilt that organization and led them to 3 straight playoffs. We all know about his beef with Sacramento and Boogie, but before that he turned Denver into a contender with a younger Melo and led them to a franchise best record.
2050 games / 944 wins / 1106 losses / 2-time conference champion / 2-time coach of the year (1976, 1980) / 1 championship
With so many accomplishments, it’s hard to rank him among the worst, but out of his 27 seasons as a coach, he’s had 14 seasons with a losing record. Although they’re in the top 10 in wins, they’re second in losses, and that’s part of the job with the Nets and Clippers in the 90s. Those franchisees were insolvent and couldn’t or didn’t know how to help in dire situations.
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All-time, Vince Koch had a 23/31 winning season and is credited with creating great tactics that included the point forward position and “Hack-A-Shock” featuring “Nelliball”. Although Kareem left for Los Angeles, he took over the Bucs organization in 1976 and managed to win 14 more games without Kareem, leading the Bucs to seven consecutive Central Division titles. He was named head coach of the Mavericks in 1997, and on draft day, his brilliance was shown again when he traded picks to Milwaukee and Phoenix for Nowitzki and Nash.
With the Mavs he forced Mark Cuban to match the max offer the Suns made for Steve Nash, we all know how that turned out. He left the Mavs and moved to the Warriors in 2006, where in his first season he led the eighth-ranked Warriors to the NBA’s best record, upsetting the former Mavs.
1645 games / 784 wins / 861 losses / 2-time conference champion / 2-time coach of the year (1969, 1982)
His 861 losses are the sixth most in NBA history. 13 of the 22 seasons under his belt were losing seasons.
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Coaching in the 23/26 season was a winning record and his tenure in Utah was a huge success. Made the playoffs 16 straight years, won 6 division championships and is one of 3 coaches to have 10 consecutive 50+ win seasons. He entered the Hall of Fame and has the third most wins in coaching history.
1329 games / 613 wins / 716 losses / 1 conference championship / the best coach of the year (1999)
There’s no easier way to start a coaching career with the Lakers led by Magic and Vlad. Lost in 4 games in the Finals to Jordan and the Bulls in his first season. In the second season, the Lakers lost in the first round and decided to go to Milwaukee, where he was mediocre at best. Joined the Trailblazers and got fired after 4 seasons, went to the Clippers, did a decent job, but ended up getting fired and accused of cheating the team. A total of 10/17 losses for the season.
2,487 games / 1,332 wins / 1,155 losses / 2-time conference champion / 2-time gold medalist (1992, 1996) / Coach of the Year (1993) / 1 championship with the Seattle SuperSonics (1978-79)
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Tough enough as a player and tough enough as a coach, he is tied for second in most wins by a coach. He is a 3X Hall of Fame inductee, first as a player, second as a coach, third as an assistant coach, for which he was on the ’92 Dream Team. Even with all their accomplishments, they have the most losses in history and 10 losing seasons
You guessed it 10/14 is a losing season and most of his coaching career is intermittent. He had success with Phoenix, leading them to the conference finals in 2009, but decided an assistant coach with the Clippers would be a better fit. He then jumped ship in 2015 as an assistant coach for the Warriors and practically led them to a championship. After a while, now signed with the Pelicans, he couldn’t find the pairing of Cousins and Davis, where he was expected to be sacked for the fourth time.
1075 games / 638 wins / 437 losses / 3-time conference champion / gold medal (1992) / 2-time NBA championship (1989, 1990)
He was able to pre-defend Jason Kidd-Nets and go through the shock magic of the 90s, and his only losing season was with the Cavs. Detroit didn’t have back-to-back winning seasons when the Pistons signed him, but they didn’t miss the playoffs once Daly arrived. He was the man behind the Dream Team, anyone could coach a large collection of players, it took a certain mind to condition them and make them cooperate in a new system.
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He tended to take over teams in the middle of the season and not make any changes. He lost 12/17 seasons with, you guessed it, and spent 5 seasons as an interim head coach, with his best season being a 43-win year.
1,417 games / 938 wins / 479 losses / Coach of the Year (1965) / 9X Champion (1957, 1959-66)
He has a total of 16 championships in a 29-year tenure as an NBA unit, he became an executive after his coaching career. In fact, he is tied for second most championships by a head coach, and that championship came with the Celtics, which was entirely due to Bill Russell. He introduced the fast-paced offense and fast break to the NBA, but most importantly, the Reds broke color barriers by recruiting the NBA’s first African-American in 1950 (Chuck Cooper), starting the first African-American at age 5, and They hired the first person. African American head coach in 1966 (Bill Russell).
He lights up a cigarette when he thinks his team is going to win and has only had one losing season in 20 years of coaching.
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1101 games / 454 wins / 647 losses 11 losing seasons / 2X conference champion / coach of the year (2008)
He was a good player and teammate, but he became the head coach once. The player has openly admitted many times that Scott should leave the coaching position due to lack of knowledge and chemistry. He coached the Cavs through the worst season in franchise history since LeBron, including a 26-game losing streak. After Cleveland, he went on to coach the Lakers and lead that tank to an abysmal 17-65 record as he led the team to a fifth straight finish in last place in their division.
1904 Games / 1210 Wins / 694 Losses / 4X Conference Champion / 3X Coach of the Year (1990, 1993, 1997) 5X NBA Champion
He coached the best team of the 80s and missed the Finals only twice during his nine years with the Lakers. Coach of the year with 3 separate teams, he is the 4th winningest coach and has only 3 losing seasons with 7 60+ win seasons in his 24 coaching seasons.
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563 games / 347 wins / 216 losses / 2 seasons of 60+ wins / 1 Eastern Conference Championship / 2009 Coach of the Year
Coaching is not Mike Brown’s place. He could not