DAR Sports: The 10 Greatest NBA Coaches Of All Time

By @TrueGodImmortal 

There are many facets to the game of basketball. While the talent on the court can ultimately be the deciding factor in how the games turn out, there's a huge element that is necessary to the longevity of the team and how to get through all 82 games and to the playoffs. The coach of the team is just as vital, if not more vital than the players, at times. The coach helps to lead and motivate their team, draw the plays up, and help manage the game in real time for his team. Today, we wanted to look back at the 10 greatest coaches ever in NBA and while 6 or 7 of these picks were virtually obvious, there's maybe one or two that might surprise you. There aren't many of the coaches from the 40s and 50s here, as I was not around for that time and the game has changed so drastically that it's tough to go back and really put them on the list. However, regardless of time period, I think this list definitely covers every coach that had a long successful run or won multiple championships.

*Don Nelson 
(Coached During 1976-2010, Record: 1,335-1,063)

-Winning percentages can be a bit deceitful, but nonetheless, Don Nelson is one of the greatest coaches of all time. He had his methods, he ran his offense a certain way, and a number of people didn't necessarily agree with his coaching style, but it would prove to get the job done most of the time. He's won a number of Coach of The Year awards, and he helped coach the Mavericks to a solid 60-22 record in the 2002-2003 season. However, he's never won a championship and that's the main thing that might hurt his legacy, but not enough to keep him off the list.

*Chuck Daly 
(Coached During 1981-1999, Record: 638-437)

-Though he only coached for what would seem like a short amount of time, Chuck Daly was without a doubt special. Any coach that can lead a team affectionately dubbed "The Bad Boys" is a coach that belongs on the list. The Pistons, who went to three straight Finals, and won back to back championships, are what solidified him as one of the greatest. His stints with other teams were semi successful in their own right, but there could be nothing better than coaching the Bad Boy Pistons in their heyday. That's one of the greatest honors any coach could have.

*Pat Riley 
(Coached During 1981-2008, Record: 1,210-694)

-Pat Riley is a winner. Hands down. Though he never won the championship with the Knicks (they should have), he was the coach of what could be one of the greatest dynasties ever, the Showtime Lakers of the 80s. For that alone, he's a top tier coach of all time. However, Pat would lead the no-nonsense Knicks into the Finals and made them a top contender every season in the East, before joining the Miami Heat and finishing the final coaching years of his season by gaining one last NBA Title with a Heat team led by Dwyane Wade and Shaq.

*Red Auerbach 
(Coached During 1946-1966, Record: 938-479)

-A coach that was way before my time, Red is still too successful and too dominant as a coach to leave off the list. Of all the coaches from the old era of basketball, his legacy is the strongest one. The dominant Celtics team of the 50s and 60s were led by Red and he would see that they garnered 9 championships during his tenure there. It's hard to pinpoint just one season where he was head and shoulders above the rest, because there's so many. He did win one Coach of the Year award, but I'm sure he was probably due for one or two more considering the run and the longevity he provided the Celtics with.

*Larry Brown 
(Coached During 1972-2010, Record: 1,327- 1,011)

-One of the greatest coaches ever only has one NBA Title to his name. Larry was different than most coaches and he would have small periods of inactivity or be without a coaching job, but at some point, he would end up with a team and try to lead them to greatness. His greatest feats as a coach were turning the Indiana Pacers of the mid 90s into a real championship contender, and then coaching the tough and brash Allen Iverson at the very beginning of his career. He would lead the Sixers and Iverson to the NBA Finals and without Larry, that team wouldn't have gone as far as they did. He would finally get his just due as a coach when he led the Pistons to the NBA Championship and the Finals again the next season. Larry is one of those coaches who might piss you off, but like the greatest coaches are supposed to do, it's intended to make you better.

*Rick Carlisle 
(Coached During 2001-Current, Record: 661-471 as of now)

-After spending years as an assistant coach, Rick finally got his shot as a head coach for the Detroit Pistons. He would win Coach of The Year in 2002, and earn his stripes as a head coach instantly, making his mark. After two successful seasons, Carlisle was somehow let go as coach of the Pistons. The details are still not certain of his departure, but he would become head coach of the Pacers soon after and lead them to the playoffs and a 61-21 record, and a few successful seasons before leaving in 2007. In 2008, he became the head coach of Mavericks and he's been there ever since, mostly leading the team to the playoffs almost every year, and winning a NBA Title in 2011, which speaks to Rick and his ability as a coach. The Mavericks were far outmatched in star power by a number of teams, but they made the Finals and won the title. For his consistency, I think he's definitely one of the greatest coaches.

*Jerry Sloan 
(Coached During 1979-2011, Record: 1,221-803)

-One of the most loyal coaches to ever be in the game, Sloan would never win the coveted Coach Of The Year award or a NBA Championship, but he still makes this list for his work with the Jazz over the year. Leading the Jazz to top records over the years and to two NBA Finals, Sloan spent 20 plus years trying to get the Jazz to the promised land, but no such thing would happen. His best year has to be in 1996-1997, when he led the Jazz to a 64-18 record, Karl Malone garnered the MVP award (which he didn't deserve actually), and the Jazz made the Finals yet again.

*Lenny Wilkins 
(Coached From 1969-2005, Record: 1,332-1,115)

-The man who ended up winning his only NBA Championship in Seattle and the former owner of the most coaching wins in NBA history is without a doubt deserving of a mention on this list. With 30 plus years under his belt, a NBA Championship, the Coach of the Year award in 1994, as well as a 4 time All Star Game coach, Lenny knew how to get your team to win, and though he doesn't have the championships or rings to necessarily back it up, his win and loss record speaks for itself.

*Phil Jackson 
(Coached During 1983-2011, Record: 1,115-485)

-It's a double edged sword when talking the GREATEST coach of them all. To me? It only comes down to two men. Coach Pop and Phil. Whoever you choose as no. 1 is up to you and on any given day, I think you could pick either one and come out with the right answer. The only thing that knocks Phil from no. 1 would be personal preference, but with 11 championships in only 20 total seasons of coaching, there's really no one better. Whether it was two Three Peats with the Bulls and Michael Jordan or his three Peat with Kobe and Shaq, or going back to back with Kobe and company, Phil did what we all wanted a coach to do: win.

*Gregg Popovich  
(Coached During 1996-Current, Record: 1089-485 as of now)

-Coach Pop is my personal all time favorite coach. He's hilarious, with the most deadpan humor, and he's definitely a great guy, but most of all he's a supreme level coach. His system in San Antonio has led them to be in the playoffs for a number of years, basically every season since 1998, which is amazing in itself. Since that period, he's won 5 Championships, and 3 Coach Of the Year awards, and has also been a 4 time All Star Game coach. Make no mistake, Coach Pop is either no. 1 or at worst, no. 2 on the list of coaches. It's as simple as that.



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