NBA The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time  

Blake Edwards
Originally by
5.2k votes 912 voters 24.2k 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.
list ordered by

1
351 128
Isiah Thomas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks

2
157 77
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
100 53
M. L. Carr is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Boston Celtics

4
111 64
Tim Floyd is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets

5
91 48
Byron Scott is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

6
105 65
Sidney Lowe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies

7
89 53
Bill Cartwright is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Chicago Bulls

8
83 49
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
56 35
Brian Hill is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Orlando Magic, Vancouver Grizzlies

13
66 44
Bill Hanzlik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Denver Nuggets

14
122 96
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
76 56
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
44 28
Matt Guokas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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

19
47 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
42 31
Lon Kruger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

22
32 22
Andrew Levane is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

23
40 30
Eric Musselman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

24
46 37
Marc Iavaroni is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

25
44 35
Bob Weiss is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

26
106 99
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
newhollowmusic added Los Angeles Lakers

27
56 47
Dick Vitale is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
johnira added

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

29
36 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
33 26
Fred Carter is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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

33
43 35
Jim Todd is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

34
7 1
Randy Wittman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Washington Wizards

35
11 6
Derek Fisher is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
New York Knicks

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

37
9 4
Tyronn Lue is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
aidansb2030 added

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

39
29 31
Johnny McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

40
5 2
Tom Nissalke is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

41
35 39
Don Chaney is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

42
11 9
Roy Rubin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
RayLeBov added

43
8 6
Mike Dunleavy, Sr. is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

44
8 6
Rasheed Wallace is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

45
5 4
Eddie Jordan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time
Rutgers Scarlet Knights men's basketball

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

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

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

49
5 4
Jay Triano is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Worst NBA Coaches of All Time

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