NBA The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time  

Blake Edwards
Originally by
5.3k votes 945 voters 24.6k views 78 items

List Rules Only head coaches based on their time coaching (not playing).

The worst NBA coaches of all time are some of the worst basketball coaches to take the reins of professional basketball teams. They will always be remembered for their contributions to their individual teams but not for the championships and high winning percentages. Plain and simple, these worst National Basketball Association coaches set the bar for how not to coach professional basketball teams.

Similar to the worst NHL coaches of all time, many of these bad NBA coaches had stellar playing careers but when their playing days were over and they made the leap to coaching, things didn't go so well. Isiah Thomas had that exact experience. He had a record-setting career as a player with the Detroit Pistons but his experience as the President of Basketball Operations with the New York Knicks was far from positive.

For other bad NBA coaches, the records they set were for having the worst teams in the history of the league. Sidney Lowe for example tallied a .257 win percentage between his coaching stays with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Grizzlies in both Vancouver and Memphis. Bill Hanzlik was even worst when he won only 11 of 82 games with the Denver Nuggets in the 1997-98 season. Jim Todd however takes the cake with his 4-33 record coaching the Los Angeles Clippers in 1999-2000.

So for whatever reason, all of these worst NBA coaches of all time share one thing in common, at one point in their professional basketball coaching careers they absolutely stunk. But like the worst NFL coaches of all time, many have been given a reprieve and have since gone on to see success with other teams and even at other levels. If nothing else, that should show that if you're passionate about something, don't give up on it! It might not go so well in one situation, but that doesn't mean your next attempt will turn out the same way.
list ordered by

1
365 135
Isiah Thomas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks

2
161 79
Kurt Rambis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks

3
101 55
M. L. Carr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Boston Celtics

4
113 65
Tim Floyd is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets

5
95 51
Byron Scott is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

6
92 54
Bill Cartwright is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Chicago Bulls

7
106 65
Sidney Lowe is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies

8
83 50
Brian Winters is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Vancouver Grizzlies

9
63 34
Bill Blair is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
New Jersey Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves

10
65 37
John Kuester is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Detroit Pistons

11
69 44
Gar Heard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards

12
67 44
Bill Hanzlik is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Denver Nuggets

13
125 96
Mike Brown is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Veggamattic added Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers

14
57 36
Brian Hill is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Orlando Magic, Vancouver Grizzlies

15
77 57
Vinny Del Negro is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

16
59 43
Dick Harter is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

17
42 27
Gene Littles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

18
44 29
Matt Guokas is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

19
49 34
Brian Shaw is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
aldridgee added Denver Nuggets

20
40 28
Keith Smart is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
subwrx added  

21
112 102
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
newhollowmusic added Los Angeles Lakers

22
58 47
Dick Vitale is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
johnira added

23
42 31
Lon Kruger is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

24
33 23
Andrew Levane is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

25
46 37
Marc Iavaroni is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

26
44 35
Bob Weiss is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

27
40 31
Eric Musselman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

28
35 26
Earl Lloyd is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

29
37 28
Bruce Hale is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

30
35 27
Jim Cleamons is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

31
44 35
Jim Todd is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

32
33 26
Fred Carter is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

33
34 27
Rolland Todd is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

34
15 7
Derek Fisher is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
New York Knicks

35
9 2
Randy Wittman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Washington Wizards

36
8 4
Eddie Jordan is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Rutgers Scarlet Knights men's basketball

37
28 26
Quinn Buckner is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
BahoPuwet added

38
28 27
Ron Rothstein is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

39
11 7
Tyronn Lue is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
aidansb2030 added

40
9 6
Mike Dunleavy, Sr. is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

41
29 31
Johnny McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

42
5 2
Tom Nissalke is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

43
35 39
Don Chaney is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

44
11 9
Roy Rubin is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
RayLeBov added

45
9 9
Bill Fitch is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
MikeGee added

46
4 2
Kevin Loughery is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

47
4 3
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

48
4 3
Dennis Johnson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

49
4 3
Eddie Jones is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

50
4 3
Bernie Bickerstaff is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time