NBA Power Rankings: The 50 Worst Coaches in NBA History

Jack WinterCorrespondent INovember 17, 2010

NBA Power Rankings: The 50 Worst Coaches in NBA History

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    Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson, Chuck Daly and Pat Riley. These are four names you won't find on Bleacher Report's list of the 50 worst coaches in NBA history.

    Several factors went into compiling this esteemed ranking of coaches, though one trumped all. As they say, you are what your record says you are.

    No sympathy was given to head men of perpetually losing franchises like the Clippers and Grizzlies. The best coaches get the most out of their talent, no matter how much it's lacking.

    On this list are Hall of Fame players, star college coaches and three coaches currently employed in the NBA.

    It goes to show that success as a player doesn't translate to the clipboard, wins are easier for some to come by in the NCAA and that some franchises are just as inept today as they were since the league's inception.

    Following is a power ranking of the 50 worst coaches in the history of the NBA.

No. 50: John Calipari

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    Career Record: 72-122, .396 WP

    Teams: New Jersey Nets 1996-1999

    Note: Calipari, despite his NBA record, is one of the most successful—and controversial—college coaches in history. He is the current head man at the University of Kentucky.

No. 49: Willis Reed

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    Career Record: 82-124, .398 WP

    Teams: New York Knicks 1977-1979 and New Jersey Nets 1987-1989

No. 48: Wes Unseld

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    Career Record: 202-345, .369 WP

    Teams: Washington Bullets 1987-1994

No. 47: Dick Vitale

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    Career Record: 34-60, .362 WP

    Teams: Detroit Pistons 1978-1980

No. 46: Garry St. Jean

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    Career Record: 172-278, .382 WP

    Teams: Sacramento Kings 1992-1997 and Golden State Warriors 1999-2000

No. 45: Tom Sanders

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    Career Record: 23-39, .371 WP

    Teams: Boston Celtics 1977-1979

No. 44: Scotty Robertson

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    Career Record: 109-178, .380 WP

    Teams: New Orleans Jazz 1974-1975, Chicago Bulls 1978-1979 and Detroit Pistons 1980-1983

No. 43: Jack McKinney

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    Career Record: 136-215, .387 WP

    Teams: Los Angeles Lakers 1979-1980, Indiana Pacers 1980-1984 and Kansas City Kings 1984-1985

No. 42: Elgin Baylor

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    Career Record: 86-135, .389 WP

    Teams: New Orleans Jazz 1974-1979

    Note: Baylor was almost as bad in the front office as he was on the bench. As Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Clippers from 1986-2008, LA's other team won just a single playoff series.

No. 41: Johnny Bach

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    Career Record: 95-172, .356 WP

    Teams: Golden State Warriors 1979-1980 and 1983-1986

No. 40: Lon Kruger

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    Career Record: 69-122, .361 WP

    Teams: Atlanta Hawks 2000-2003

No. 39: Richie Adubato

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    Career Record: 127-240, .346 WP

    Teams: Detroit Pistons 1979-1980, Dallas Mavericks 1990-1993 and Orlando Magic 1996-1997

No. 38: Johnny Davis

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    Career Record: 73-146, .333 WP

    Teams: Philadelphia 76ers 1996-1997, Orlando Magic 2003-2005 and Memphis Grizzlies 2008-2009

No. 37: Darrell Walker

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    Career Record: 56-113, .331 WP

    Teams: Toronto Raptors 1996-1998 and Washington Wizards 1999-2000

No. 36: Dave DeBusschere

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    Career Record: 79-143, .356 WP

    Teams: Detroit Pistons 1964-1967

No. 35: Jerry Reynolds

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    Career Record: 56-114, .329 WP

    Teams: Sacramento Kings 1986-1990

No. 34: Slater Martin

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    Career Record: 37-61, .378 WP

    Teams: St. Louis Spirits 1956-1957 and Houston Mavericks 1967-1969

No. 33: Bob MacKinnon

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    Career Record: 57-120, .322 WP

    Teams: St. Louis Spirits 1974-1975, Buffalo Braves 1976-1977 and New Jersey Nets 1980-1981 and 1987-1988

No. 32: Frank Hamblen

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    Career Record: 33-71, .317 WP

    Teams: Milwaukee Bucks 1991-1992 and Los Angeles Lakers 2004-2005

No. 31: Randy Wittman

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    Career Record: 100-207, .326 WP

    Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers 1999-2001 and Minnesota Timberwolves 2006-2009

No. 30: Larry Krystkowiak

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    Career Record: 31-69, .310 WP

    Teams: Milwaukee Bucks 2006-2008

No. 29: Johnny "Red" Kerr

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    Career Record: 93-190, .329 WP

    Teams: Chicago Bulls 1966-1968 and Phoenix Suns 1968-1970

No. 28: George Irvine

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    Career Record: 100-190, .345 WP

    Teams: Indiana Pacers 1984-1986 and 1988-1989, Detroit Pistons 1999-2001

No. 27: Bill Cartwright

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    Career Record: 51-100, .338 WP

    Teams: Chicago Bulls 2001-2004

No. 26: Rolland Todd

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    Career Record: 41-97, .297 WP

    Teams: Portland Trail Blazers 1970-1972

No. 25: Ron Rothstein

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    Career Record: 97-231, .296 WP

    Teams: Miami Heat 1988-1991 and Detroit Pistons 1992-1993

No. 24: Brendan Malone

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    Career Record: 29-71, .290 WP

    Teams: Toronto Raptors 1995-1996 and Cleveland Cavaliers 2004-2005

No. 23: John Kuester

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    Career Record: 29-61, .322 WP

    Teams: Detroit Pistons 2009-Present

    Note: Kuester's fortunes likely won't improve as the season wears on. Detroit has one of the most dumbfounding rosters in the league this season. They have multiple combo guards on the roster but no true PG, and several power forwards but no true C.

    GM Joe Dumars hasn't done Kuester any favors, but there are some coaches who could make a team of that jumbled mess.

No. 22: Eddie Donovan

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    Career Record: 84-194, .302 WP

    Teams: New York Knicks 1961-1965

No. 21: Jack McCloskey

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    Career Record: 48-116, .293 WP

    Teams: Portland Trail Blazers 1972-1974

No. 20: M.L. Carr

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    Career Record: 48-116, .293 WP

    Teams: Boston Celtics 1995-1997

No. 19: Fred Carter

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    Career Record: 32-76, .296 WP

    Teams: Philadelphia 76ers 1992-1994

No. 18: Earl Lloyd

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    Career Record: 22-55, .286 WP

    Teams: Detroit Pistons 1971-1973

    Note: League's first black head coach.

No. 17: Bill Musselman

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    Career Record: 85-210, .288 WP

    Teams: San Diego Sails 1975-1976, Virginia Squires 1975-1976, Cleveland Cavaliers 1980-1982 and Minnesota Timberwolves 1989-1991

No. 16: Gene Littles

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    Career Record: 44-111, .284 WP

    Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers 1985-1986, Chicago Bulls 1989-1991 and Denver Nuggets 1994-1995

No. 15: Jim Cleamons

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    Career Record: 28-70, .286 WP

    Teams: Dallas Mavericks 1996-1998

No. 14: Marc Iavaroni

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    Career Record: 33-90, .268 WP

    Teams: Memphis Grizzlies 2007-2009

No. 13: Andrew Levane

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    Career Record: 106-170, .284 WP

    Teams: Milwaukee Hawks 1952-1954, New York Knicks 1958-1960 and St. Louis Hawks 1961-1962

No. 12: Bruce Hale

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    Career Record: 26-69, .274 WP

    Teams: Indianapolis Jets 1948-1949 and Oakland Oaks 1967-1968

No. 11: Bill Blair

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    Career Record: 29-79, .269 WP

    Teams: New Jersey Nets 1982-1983 and Minnesota Timberwolves 1994-1996

No. 10: Tim Floyd

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    Career Record: 90-231, .280 WP

    Teams: Chicago Bulls 1998-2002 and New Orleans Hornets 2003-2004

    Note: Floyd was dealt a tough hand when he took over the Bulls as the post-Michael Jordan era began. Still, he couldn't get anything out of the Baby Bulls.

No. 9: Kurt Rambis

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    Career Record: 40-87, .196 WP

    Teams: Los Angeles Lakers 1998-1999, Minnesota Timberwolves 2009-Present

    Note: The primary reason Rambis is so high on this list is because of his refusal to play PF Kevin Love starter's minutes early in the 2010-2011 season.

    In the first game Love played that he was on the floor for more than 31 minutes, he posted 23 points and 24 rebounds. Two games later (and after logging 28 minutes in the game previous), he put up the now legendary stat line of 31 points and 31 rebounds.

    Given his recent dominance, it appears not even the stupidity of Rambis will be enough to keep Love on the bench.

No. 8: Johnny McCarthy

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    Career Record: 22-59, .272 WP

    Teams: Buffalo Braves 1971-1972

No. 7: Gar Heard

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    Career Record: 23-74, .237 WP

    Teams: Dallas Mavericks 1992-1993 and Washington Wizards 1999-2000

No. 6: Leonard Hamilton

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    Career Record: 19-63, .232 WP

    Teams: Washington Wizards 2000-2001

    Note: Hamilton has found much greater success at the collegiate level, as over the years he's established Florida State as one of the better teams in the ACC.

No. 5: Jim Todd

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    Career Record: 4-33, .108 WP

    Teams: Los Angeles Clippers 1999-2000

No. 4: Dick Harter

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    Career Record: 28-94, .230 WP

    Teams: Chicago Bulls 1988-1990

No 3: Brian Winters

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    Career Record: 36-148, .196 WP

    Teams: Vancouver Grizzlies 1995-1997 and Golden State Warriors 2001-2002

No. 2: Bill Hanzlik

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    Career Record: 11-71, .134 WP

    Teams: Denver Nuggets 1997-1998

    Note: Hanzlik led the Nuggets to the third worst regular season in the history of the league in 1998, his only season as a head coach.

No. 1: Sidney Lowe

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    Career Record: 79-228, .257 WP

    Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves 1992-1994 and Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies 2000-2003

    Note: Lowe is the current head coach at North Carolina State and hasn't fared much better in the college ranks. In four seasons, he's yet to lead the Wolfpack to a NCAA Tournament bid.