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8.6k voters

The All Time Greatest NBA Coaches

Updated August 6, 2020 45.5k votes 8.6k voters 75.8k views76 items

List RulesThe greatest NBA coaches in history

It's no surprise that some of the best NBA players of all time go on to become some of the best NBA coaches ever, and this list of the all-time greatest NBA coaches is testament to that fact. These men helm some of the greatest sports franchises in the sports world and are able to consistently coach the best performances from their players.

What makes somebody the greatest NBA coach ever? That's a pretty subjective question to answer. Are the top NBA coaches the ones in charge of the NBA teams with the best defense? Or the NBA teams with the best offense? Are they the ones who can reign in a team of superstar athletes and get them to play nice together? Are the best NBA coaches the coaches with the best win-loss record? Or are the greatest NBA coaches simply the coaches with the most NBA championship rings?

Who is the best NBA coach of all time? You decide! Some of the NBA's famous basketball coaches on this list have been around longer than others, but the point of this list of the all-time top NBA coaches is to determine which NBA coach had the best run whether they were in charge of a team for 2 years or 20. If you don't see your favorite NBA coach on this list of the all-time best NBA coaches, make sure to add his name so he can vie for the top spot of the best NBA coach ever.
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  • 1
    4,080
    1,279

    More Gregg Popovich 

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  • 2
    3,320
    1,172

    More Phil Jackson 

    #59 of 163 The Smartest Professional Athletes#37 of 90 The Best New York Knicks of All Time

  • 3
    1,739
    615

    Red Auerbach

    Dec. at 89 (1917-2006)
  • 4
    1,897
    703

    Pat Riley

    Age: 75

    More 

    The Best Pat Riley Quotes#16 of 141 The Greatest Kentucky Basketball Players of All Time

  • 5
    949
    543

    More Jerry Sloan 

    #12 of 73 The Greatest Chicago Bulls of All Time#85 of 175 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

  • 6
    965
    567

    Chuck Daly

    Dec. at 79 (1930-2009)
  • 7
    477
    296

    More Lenny Wilkens 

    #63 of 161 The Best NBA Players With No Championship Rings#56 of 150 The Greatest Point Guards in NBA History

  • 8
    401
    141

    John Wooden

    Dec. at 100 (1910-2010)

    More 

    #203 of 432 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History#7 of 45 The Greatest Purdue Basketball Players of All Time

  • 9
    717
    441

    More Bill Russell 

    #313 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time#397 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers Of All Time

  • 10
    826
    563
  • 11
    1,365
    955

    Steve Kerr

    Age: 55

    More Steve Kerr 

    #26 of 32 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 90s#6 of 20 The Best Three-Point Shooters in NBA History

  • 12
    440
    250

    Larry Bird

    Age: 64

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    #172 of 217 Celebrities Who Should Run for President#125 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • 13
    223
    94

    Jerry West

    Age: 82

    More Jerry West 

    #4 of 107 The Greatest Lakers of All Time#5 of 25 The Best NBA Point Guards of the 1970s

  • 14
    606
    431

    Don Nelson

    Age: 80
  • 15
    730
    539

    More Rick Carlisle 

    #89 of 133 The Best Boston Celtics of All Time#6 of 15 The Best Pacers Coaches of All Time, Ranked

  • 16
    475
    163

    More Mike Krzyzewski 

    #29 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#3 of 100 The Best Current College Basketball Coaches

  • 17
    617
    408

    More Erik Spoelstra 

    #1 of 6 The Best Miami Heat Coaches of All Time, Ranked#1 of 6 Best Miami Heat Coaches of All Time

  • 18
    341
    239
  • 19
    386
    305

    More Rudy Tomjanovich 

    #10 of 46 The Greatest Michigan Basketball Players of All Time#102 of 135 The Best Small Forwards of All Time

  • 20
    289
    51

    Brad Stevens

    Age: 44

    More 

    #13 of 124 The Greatest College Basketball Coaches of All Time#2 of 32 The Best NBA Coaches Right Now

  • 21
    874
    852

    Doc Rivers

    Age: 59

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    #27 of 27 The Best '90s Point Guards#33 of 126 The Best NBA Buys for the Money

  • 22
    233
    167

    Jack Ramsay

    Dec. at 89 (1925-2014)
  • 23
    548
    526
  • 24
    368
    243
  • 25
    357
    311