NBA The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time  

Blake Edwards
Originally by
5.1k votes 889 voters 23.7k views 79 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.

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343 126
Isiah Thomas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Isiah Thomas Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks

2
152 76
Kurt Rambis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Kurt Rambis Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks

3
85 43
Byron Scott is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Byron Scott Los Angeles Lakers

4
97 53
M. L. Carr is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
M. L. Carr Boston Celtics

5
108 64
Tim Floyd is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Tim Floyd Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets

6
103 65
Sidney Lowe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Sidney Lowe Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies

7
86 53
Bill Cartwright is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Bill Cartwright Chicago Bulls

8
81 49
Brian Winters is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Brian Winters Vancouver Grizzlies

9
61 34
Bill Blair is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Bill Blair New Jersey Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves

10
64 37
John Kuester is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
John Kuester Detroit Pistons

11
68 44
Gar Heard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Gar Heard Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards

12
56 34
Brian Hill is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Brian Hill Orlando Magic, Vancouver Grizzlies

13
122 93
Mike Brown is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Veggamattic added Mike Brown Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers

14
66 44
Bill Hanzlik is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Bill Hanzlik Denver Nuggets

15
75 54
Vinny Del Negro is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

16
59 42
Dick Harter is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

17
44 28
Matt Guokas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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42 27
Gene Littles is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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46 33
Brian Shaw is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
aldridgee added Brian Shaw Denver Nuggets

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42 31
Lon Kruger is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Lon Kruger Atlanta Hawks

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39 28
Keith Smart is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
subwrx added Keith Smart  

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56 46
Dick Vitale is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
johnira added Dick Vitale

23
46 37
Marc Iavaroni is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

24
106 98
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
newhollowmusic added Magic Johnson Los Angeles Lakers

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35 26
Earl Lloyd is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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31 22
Andrew Levane is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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39 30
Eric Musselman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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43 35
Bob Weiss is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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35 28
Bruce Hale is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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34 27
Jim Cleamons is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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43 34
Jim Todd is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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

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33 26
Rolland Todd is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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11 5
Derek Fisher is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Derek Fisher New York Knicks

35
7 1
Randy Wittman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Randy Wittman Washington Wizards

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28 26
Quinn Buckner is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
BahoPuwet added Quinn Buckner

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27 27
Ron Rothstein is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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8 5
Mike Dunleavy, Sr. is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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8 5
Rasheed Wallace is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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

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5 2
Tom Nissalke is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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35 39
Don Chaney is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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

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5 3
Jay Triano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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

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12 11
Doc Rivers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
1513013311576 added Doc Rivers Los Angeles Clippers

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21 24
Jack McCloskey is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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6 5
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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4 4
Eddie Jordan is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Eddie Jordan Rutgers Scarlet Knights men's basketball

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