NBA's 10 Greatest Coaches of All Time

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NBA's 10 Greatest Coaches of All Time

10. John Kundla

Kundla was the coach of the Minneapolis Lakers for 11 seasons. He had a total record of 423-302. Most importantly, he was the coach of the first dynasty in the NBA, as he led the Lakers to five championships in a six-year stretch. He was also one of the youngest coaches ever when he took over the Lakers at age 31. In all, he coached six Hall of Famers and was elected to the Hall of Fame as a coach. 

 

9. Red Holzman

Holzman was the coach of some great Knicks teams during the '70s. In 16 seasons as a coach, he compiled a record of 696-604. He led the Knicks to two championships in 1970 and 1973. He also led the Knicks to a then record 18-game winning streak in 1969. Finally, he won the Coach of the Year Award in 1970 and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

 

8. Rudy Tomjanovich

Tomjanovich was one of the best modern coaches ever. In his 13-year career as the coach of the Rockets and the Lakers (one season), he compiled a 527-416 record, a winning percent of .559. He led the Rockets to back-to-back championships in the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons. He was also the head coach of the 2000 U.S. Men's basketball team that won the gold medal.

 

7. Chuck Daly

Daly led the Pistons to back-to-back titles in the late '80s.  In his 14-year career as a coach, he had a 638-437 record and a .593 winning percentage. He was also the coach of the 1992 U.S. Men's basketball team, the original Dream Team. Finally, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

 

6. Lenny Wilkens

Wilkens is the all-time leader in wins for an NBA head coach. He was a head coach for 32 seasons, coaching the Sonics, Blazers, Cavaliers, Hawks, Raptors, and Knicks. He has a record of 1332-1155 and a winning percentage of .536. He also led the Sonics to the finals twice in the late '70s, winning the title in the 1978-79 season. Finally, he also won the 1993-94 Coach of the Year Award while leading the Cavs to 57 wins.

 

5. Larry Brown

Brown is probably the best coach ever at getting the most out of bad teams. In his 25-year career as an NBA head coach, he has a record of 1240-910 and a winning percentage of .577. He is the only coach ever to have led a college team to a championship and an NBA team to a championship.

He led the Kansas Jayhawks to a title in 1988 and the Detroit Pistons to a championship in 2004. He is also the only coach to have led seven different teams to the playoffs. Finally, he won the Coach of the Year Award in 2000-01 with the 76ers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002. 

 

4. Pat Riley

Riley was the head coach of the "Showtime" Lakers of the '80s. In a 24-year career as coach of the Lakers, Knicks, and Heat, he has won five championships (four with the Lakers and one with the Heat). He has also compiled a 1210-694 record, winning games at an impressive .636 clip.

He also won the NBA Coach of the Year Award three times in 1990, 1993, and 1997. He led his teams to the playoffs every season of his career except for one and that was his last season with the Heat. He ranks second in playoff wins with 171.

 

3. Gregg Popovich

Popovich has been one of the best, if not the best coach, over the last 10 seasons. In his 13-year career, he has led the San Antonio Spurs to four championships and 633 wins, with just 305 losses. He won the NBA Coach of the Year Award in the 2002-03 and has had 11 consecutive seasons with a winning percentage of .646 or better. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the future.

 

2. Red Auerbach

Auerbach was the "Godfather of the NBA." He was the man of the Boston Celtics for over 30 years as a coach and an executive. In his career as a coach, he led the Celtics to an amazing nine championships, including an unfathomable eight consecutive titles from 1959 until 1966.

He had a record of 823-426 and a .659 winning percentage. He also has a career playoff record of 91-60, with a winning percentage of .603. He also won the NBA Coach of the Year Award in 1965. Finally, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.

 

1. Phil Jackson

Jackson is greatest coach of all time.  He has nine championships as a coach to prove it.  Sure, he has had four of the greatest players ever in Jordan, Pippen, Shaq, and Kobe, but no one can deny what he has accomplished. He has an amazing record of 980-418 in his 18-year career.  He also owns an all-time winning percentage of .703, which is the highest ever.

He has the most playoff wins with 193. He won the NBA Coach of the Year Award in the 1995-96 season. He still could win more championships as he is currently the coach of the Lakers, one of the best teams in the league. Finally, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

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