10 Greatest Head Coaches In NBA History

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Greatest Coaches In NBA History

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Brad Stevens leaving the Butler Bulldogs for the Boston Celtics is big news in both college basketball and the NBA. Who knows what kind of coach he will be at the next level, but he was certainly a great coach in college hoops. With this head coaching change and other head coaching changes being hot topics this offseason, let’s take a look at the top 10 greatest head coaches in NBA history.

I am not saying Stevens will go down as one of the best coaches in NBA history or anything like that, but taking a look at the best of the best is pretty fitting for this time of year.

There have been plenty of great coaches in the NBA, whether it be in the past or present, so lists such as this one will always have some controversies.

Whether the case, the coach at the top of the list should not get many complaints, because those title things that he won speak pretty loud. Still, there are many coaches that could be considered as a top 10 coach in NBA history, but there can clearly only be 10 in a list of 10--rocket science right there. So, someone is going to be left off of this list. It is kind of inevitable.

We all know that one team known as the Los Angeles Lakers, who have had some great coaches in their history. The same can be said about the Boston Celtics and many other great franchises.

Read on to see the top 10 coaches in NBA history.

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10. Lenny Wilkens

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Lenny Wilkens had his fair share of wins, racking up 1,332 in his career. He also had one championship season, which came towards the beginning of his career.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not known as one of the best franchises in NBA history, but he still had some success with that team, among many other teams.

The amount of wins that he had over the course of his career puts him in the top 10 list off all time greats alone.

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9. Don Nelson

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Don Nelson never won an NBA championship. However, he does currently have the most wins as a coach, which should definitely count for something.

He helped coach his teams to many postseasons, but he was never able to pull off the ultimate feat.

Winning a title would have solidified his career, but he is still considered as one of the best.

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8. Gregg Popovich

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Gregg Popovich is still adding to his legacy, since he is still the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs and all.

He has won four NBA titles and it would have been huge if his team could have knocked off the Miami Heat in this year’s NBA Finals, but that clearly did not happen.

Popovich has still coached some great teams and as long as he continues to coach, his name will continue moving up the lists of best coaches.

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7. John Kundla

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John Kundla helped coach the Minneapolis Lakers to five championships. Not bad for a coach that did not seem to coach for that long. It did help that he had some great players to work with, though

Whether the case, he did work for the Lakers and although his team did not play in L.A., his name should go down as one of the all time greats in Lakers history. You know, since he is considered one of he best coaches in NBA history and all.

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6. Red Holzman

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Red Holzman is a big reason why the New York Knicks get so much credit as being a great NBA franchise, despite not being the best team in the league in recent memory. That is clearly changing now, with the Knicks being one of the better teams in the league.

Holzman coached that one guy named Phil Jackson and also managed to win a couple of NBA titles.

He is the best coach to have ever coached the Knicks.

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5. Pat Riley

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Pat Riley may not be a coach nowadays, but he is still a very popular name in sports. It helps being part of the Miami Heat, who have been the best team ever since the Big 3 became a thing.

He has been part of many championships, including five as a coach. He also one a championship as a player, assistant coach and executive.

Riley is clearly a very important figure to have on a team no matter what position he is put at. He leads teams to championships and not much else.

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4. Bill Fitch

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Over 900 wins and a championship is the reason why Bill Fitch is on this list.

His title came way back when in 1980. Although that was around the middle of his career, he still coached some great basketball teams.

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3. Chuck Daly

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Two words for you: Dream Team. Chuck Daly had the honor of coaching the Dream Team in the Olympics and he also had the honor of coaching the Detroit Pistons.

However, the honor may actually be Detroit’s, as it is not even close to being one of the best basketball teams in the league today.

Daly has two titles on his belt and he should be in the top five of everyone’s list.

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2. Red Auerbach

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There is probably not many arguments on who the top two coaches in NBA history are. However, there may be some discussion on where these two coaches should be placed, whether it be at No. 1 or No. 2.

However, Red Auerbach comes in at No. 2 on this one.

He is easily the best coach of his time, thanks to his nine championships, which are very hard to argue with.

He coached some great players in his time, since he did coach for the Boston Celtics and all.

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1. Phil Jackson

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Like Auerbach, Phil Jackson coached some great players. You may have heard of three of them: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

Regardless, he had some great basketball teams, whether if that was when he was the coach of the Lakers or the coach of the Chicago Bulls.

Sure, he lucked out by getting a couple of the greatest players to ever play the game, but he still got the job done, met expectations and won 11 NBA championships.

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  • Hannibal

    He also one a championship as a player, assistant coach and executive.