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Best Coaches in NBA History

Updated on March 6, 2016

Great Basketball Coaches

Phil Jackson won championships with the Chicago Bulls and the L.A. Lakers.
Phil Jackson won championships with the Chicago Bulls and the L.A. Lakers. | Source
Pat Riley is one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time.
Pat Riley is one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time. | Source
Mutombo getting an earful from Lenny Wlkens, who played himself before becoming a coach.
Mutombo getting an earful from Lenny Wlkens, who played himself before becoming a coach. | Source
Larry Brown was inducted into The Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. This former basketball player knows the game inside out.
Larry Brown was inducted into The Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. This former basketball player knows the game inside out. | Source
Jerry Sloan is the head coach of the Utah Jazz in the NBA. He knows his stuff and he is a great communicator.
Jerry Sloan is the head coach of the Utah Jazz in the NBA. He knows his stuff and he is a great communicator. | Source

The NBA's Greatest Teachers

1. Phil Jackson: Jackson is an easy choice as the best coach. He coached the Chicago Bulls for nine years winning six NBA Championships and he was the head coach also of the L.A. Lakers for ten years winning five Championships their as well. His .704 winning percentage is the best in NBA history and he won two NBA titles as a player as well. He is known as the Zin master for his use of Eastern Philosophy and his use of the triangular offense is legendary. He was like a second father to his players and he was a loved and successful head coach.

2. Red Auerbach: He won nine NBA titles as the coach of the Boston Celtics and he won 938 games which is second only to Phil Jackson. He won seven more NBA titles as General manager of the Boston Celtics and as Team President he is credited with drafting the great Bill Russell. Other than coaching accomplishments he is a mentor who has helped develop other great coaches with his skills and experience. He is more of a teacher than a coach. He would discover talent and then uncover the talent.

3. Pat Riley: Riley is the only person to win a NBA Championship as a player, assistant coach, head coach and as a team President. As a head coach he won five NBA titles and he also won a title as an assistant coach. He has coached the L.A. Lakers, New York Knicks and the Miami Heat during his illustrious career. Riley has won 1,210 games a a coach. His work ethic is what makes him a special coach and his dedication to basketball shows in his results.

4. Larry Brown: He is the only NBA coach to lead 8 different teams to the playoffs and has won over 1,000 games as a head coach. He was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. His record as a coach is memorable and it reads 1,275 wins versus 965 losses. He has had success as a player, coach in the ABA and in the NFL not to mention his college career as a leader.

5. Gregg Popovich: Pop has won four NBA Championships while coaching the San Antonio Spurs since 1996. He is a very intense coach who will throw fits to gain an advantage. He has 118 playoff wins to date and 885 regular season wins to go along with that stat. He is an offensive minded coach who loves the game to be played in the paint.

6. Lenny Wilkens: Wilkens has the second most wins of any NBA coach ever with 1,332. Amazingly he played and coached the Seattle Super sonics at the same time. He won a NBA Championship in 1979 with Seattle. He also was the assistant head coach on the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics. His experience as a player shows because he was a team leader as a player so it's only fitting that he is the same as a head coach.

7. Jerry Sloan: Sloan coached the Utah Jazz 22 seasons leading them to the play offs fiftenn times. He retired with a win-loss record of 1,221-803. He led the Jazz to two playoff finals, losing both times to the Michael Jordan led Bulls. He had a temper on the sidelines. One time he was even suspended two games for shoving an official during a game.

8. Chuck Daly: He coached in the NBA 14 years and was the head coach of the 1992 Olympic Dream team that won Gold. Also, as head coach of the Detroit Pistons he won two NBA Titles. The Pistons made the playoffs all nine years that they were coached by Daly. He won 638 games in the regular season and his style of coaching was fiery to say the least. He knew what to say and when to say it. Daly put his heart and soul into the game he loved so much.

9. Bill Fitch: Fitch has won 944 regular season games as a head coach and he won 55 times in the playoffs. In 1981 Fitch led the Boston Celtics to the Championship and he also took the Rockets to the NBA Finals. He has won coach of the year in 1979 and he coached four different college teams. Fitch knows how to keep his team controlling the tempo and if his team has a lead they usually keep it and get the win.

10. John Kundla: He won six NBA titles with the Lakers (Minneapolis) and in his eleven years coaching he amassed a record of 423-302. He was equally successful as a college basketball coach where his heart was at all along. Kundla, in my view, was an underappreciated coach without a doubt.

Lenny Wilkins of the Super Sonics

Phil Jackson DVDs

NBA Rules and Regulations

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Magic Johnson Interviews Pat Riley

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Phil Jackson: Coaching Legend

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Phil The Mediator

Phil Jackson actually had his players with the Bulls and Lakers read certain books and also to meditate. He is known as one of the best coaches in NBA history and his stats speak for themselves.

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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    • hoov45 profile image

      hoov45 4 years ago from Denham Springs, Louisiana

      Phil was great no doubt but I wonder sometimes was it him or more so the talent he had...MJ and Kobe. Would he have done so well had he not always had the best players? Just a thought...

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