NBA The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time  

Blake Edwards
Originally by
5.5k votes 973 voters 25.1k 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
374 142
Isiah Thomas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks

2
168 82
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
118 67
Tim Floyd is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets

4
104 57
M. L. Carr is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Boston Celtics

5
109 67
Sidney Lowe is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies

6
99 58
Byron Scott is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

7
93 58
Bill Cartwright is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Chicago Bulls

8
85 52
Brian Winters is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Vancouver Grizzlies

9
64 36
Bill Blair is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
New Jersey Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves

10
66 38
John Kuester is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Detroit Pistons

11
58 37
Brian Hill is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Orlando Magic, Vancouver Grizzlies

12
69 47
Gar Heard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards

13
67 46
Bill Hanzlik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Denver Nuggets

14
126 100
Mike Brown is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Veggamattic added Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers

15
60 43
Dick Harter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

16
78 59
Vinny Del Negro is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

17
43 28
Gene Littles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

18
51 35
Brian Shaw is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
aldridgee added Denver Nuggets

19
45 30
Matt Guokas is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

20
116 103
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
newhollowmusic added Los Angeles Lakers

21
34 23
Andrew Levane is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

22
40 29
Keith Smart is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
subwrx added  

23
38 28
Bruce Hale is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

24
58 48
Dick Vitale is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
johnira added

25
42 32
Lon Kruger is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

26
18 7
Derek Fisher is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
New York Knicks

27
40 32
Eric Musselman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

28
35 27
Earl Lloyd is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

29
36 28
Jim Cleamons is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

30
34 26
Fred Carter is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

31
35 27
Rolland Todd is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

32
45 35
Jim Todd is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

33
44 37
Bob Weiss is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

34
46 40
Marc Iavaroni is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

35
10 2
Randy Wittman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Washington Wizards

36
10 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
13 9
Tyronn Lue is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
aidansb2030 added

40
29 31
Johnny McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

41
6 3
Wes Unseld 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
11 9
Roy Rubin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
RayLeBov added

44
35 40
Don Chaney is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

45
9 8
Mike Dunleavy, Sr. is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

46
9 10
Bill Fitch is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
MikeGee added

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

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

49
21 25
Jack McCloskey 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