When discussing the best NBA coaches of all time, there are several names that consistently come to mind. These renowned coaches have left an indelible mark on the game and have achieved remarkable success throughout their careers. From their strategic brilliance to their ability to inspire and lead their teams, these coaches have set the standard for excellence in the NBA. While opinions may vary on the specific rankings, it is widely acknowledged that these coaches have made significant contributions to the game and have left a lasting legacy in the annals of basketball history. Check here the list of Top 10 Best NBA Coaches of All Time.
10. Steve Kerr:
Steve Kerr has quickly established himself as one of the best NBA coaches in recent years. Since taking over as head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2014, Kerr has led the team to tremendous success.
Under Kerr’s leadership, the Warriors have won three NBA championships in 2015, 2017, and 2018, solidifying their place as one of the greatest teams in NBA history. Kerr’s ability to build a cohesive and selfless team culture has been instrumental in the Warriors’ success.
Kerr’s coaching style emphasizes ball movement, teamwork, and a strong offensive system that maximizes the talents of his players. He has an excellent understanding of the game and is known for making smart and strategic adjustments during games.
Additionally, Kerr’s ability to manage egos and unite a talented roster of players has been notable. He has navigated tough situations and maintained a positive team atmosphere, which has contributed to the Warriors’ sustained success.
9. Chuck Daly
Daly’s coaching brilliance was evident during his time with the Detroit Pistons, where he led them to back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. His ability to develop a strong defensive-minded team, known as the “Bad Boys,” and manage superstar talent solidifies his status as one of the Best NBA coaches in NBA history.
8. Red Auerbach:
Red Auerbach is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. His success as the head coach of the Boston Celtics is unparalleled, as he led the team to an unprecedented 9 NBA championships during his coaching career.
Auerbach’s innovative coaching strategies and emphasis on team play revolutionized the game of basketball. His ability to develop and motivate his players, as well as his keen eye for talent, were instrumental in his team’s success.
Auerbach’s impact on the sport and his remarkable coaching record certainly solidify his place as one of the all-time greats in NBA coaching history.
7. Larry Brown:
Known for his ability to turn struggling teams around, Larry Brown’s coaching career spanned several NBA franchises. Notably, he led the Detroit Pistons to an NBA championship in 2004, showcasing his ability to maximize the potential of his players through disciplined and team-oriented play.
6. Jerry Sloan
Sloan’s tenure as the head coach of the Utah Jazz was defined by his ability to consistently produce competitive teams. With his strong emphasis on defense and discipline, Sloan guided the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. His longevity and success with the Jazz make him one of the best NBA coaches.
5. Lenny Wilkens:
He had an incredibly successful coaching career, spending over 30 years in the league. Wilkens coached several teams throughout his career, including the Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, and New York Knicks.
Wilkens’ coaching achievements are remarkable. He holds the record for the most wins as a head coach in NBA history, with a total of 1,332 wins. He led the Seattle SuperSonics to their first and only NBA championship in 1979. Additionally, he was named the NBA Coach of the Year twice, in 1994 and 1998.
Wilkens’ coaching style was known for its emphasis on teamwork, discipline, and effective communication. He was respected by both players and fellow coaches for his basketball knowledge and ability to get the best out of his teams.
Overall, Lenny Wilkens’ contributions to the NBA as a coach are significant, and his record and accolades reflect his impact on the game. He remains highly regarded as one of the best coaches in NBA history.
4. Pat Riley:
Known for his slicked-back hair and sharp fashion sense, Riley coached the Los Angeles Lakers to four NBA championships and later guided the Miami Heat to another championship in 2006. His emphasis on discipline, hard work, and physical play made him one of the most successful coaches of his era.
3. Red Holzman:
He had a successful coaching career primarily with the New York Knicks, where he coached from 1967 to 1982.
Under Holzman’s leadership, the Knicks won two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973. He was known for implementing a strong team-oriented style of play and emphasizing defense. Holzman’s ability to get the best out of his players and his keen basketball knowledge contributed to his success as a coach.
Holzman was also adept at managing egos and fostering a sense of unity among his players. He had a deep understanding of the game and was known for his strategic approach on both ends of the court. He was respected by his players and peers and is often cited as one of the great basketball minds in the NBA.
While there have been many best NBA coaches throughout history, Red Holzman’s championships and his impact on the game make him one of the best coaches to have ever coached in the NBA.
2. Gregg Popovich:
As the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Popovich has led the team to five NBA championships and consistently produced winning seasons year after year. His ability to develop players, adapt to new styles of play, and create a culture of excellence have made him one of the most respected coaches in NBA history.
1. Phil Jackson:
Jackson’s 11 NBA championships, including six with the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan era and five with the Los Angeles Lakers, speak to his unparalleled success as a coach. Known for his zen-like coaching style and ability to manage superstar egos, Jackson’s ability to build winning teams is legendary.
What set Jackson apart was his ability to create a strong team culture and get the best out of his players. He was known for his Zen-like approach, emphasizing mindfulness, teamwork, and selflessness on the court. Jackson implemented the famous triangle offense, which helped his teams flourish offensively.
His success was not limited to one team, as he won six championships with the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan in the 1990s, and five more with the Los Angeles Lakers featuring Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in the early 2000s, as well as Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in the late 2000s.
Jackson’s coaching style and ability to manage egos amidst talented rosters garnered him tremendous respect from players and fellow coaches. His ability to maintain focus and adapt to different challenges helped him achieve remarkable success over his career.
While opinions may differ on who the absolute best NBA coach is, Phil Jackson’s championship record, coaching philosophy, and success with multiple teams make him a strong contender for that title.
Although it is important to note that coaching greatness can be subjective and other coaches have also achieved remarkable success, Steve Kerr’s championships, ability to build a winning team, and his impact on the Warriors make him one of the best NBA coaches today.