CBN’s Top 10 Best Coaches in NBA History

We’re presenting some of the greatest coaches of all time that the league will always look up to.

Coaches are an integral part of a team’s success - and with the right coaching and guidance, even a team in need of serious direction can transform into something truly great. That’s why this week is all about the top coaches in franchise history. Kicking things off with #10 and moving our way up to the historically best of the best, here are the top 10 greatest coaches in the history of the NBA:

John Kundla

10. John Kundla

As coach of the Minneapolis Lakers for 11 full seasons, John Kundla posted a total record of 423-302, and has coached six Hall-of-Famers while also being elected himself as a coach. Also worth noting: Kundla coached the league’s first dynasty when he led the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships across six seasons. He also happens to have been one of the youngest to coach in the NBA when he took on the Lakers at 31 years old.

Red Holzman

9. Red Holzman

Red Holzman spent a generous 16 seasons as a coach, with a combined record of 696-604. As the coach of several strong New York Knicks teams in the ‘70s, he led them to two titles in 1970 and 1973, in addition to a then record 18-game winning streak in 1969. In 1970, Holzman received the Coach of the Year Award and later on in 1985, was elected into the Hall of Fame.

Rudy Tomjanovich

8. Rudy Tomjanovich

Over his 13-year career coaching the Houston Rockets for 12 seasons and the Los Angeles Lakers for now, Rudy Tomjanovich made a 527-416 record and a winning percentage of .559. During the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, Tomjanovich led Houston to back-to-back championships, and was even the head coach of the gold medal-winning 2000 U.S. Men's basketball team.

Chuck Daly

7. Chuck Daly

During his 14-year coaching career, Chuck Daly led the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back championships in the late 90’s. He has a 638-437 record and a .593 winning percentage, and was even the coach of the original Dream Team: the 1992 U.S. Men's basketball team. Daly was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the year 1994.

Lenny Wilkens

6. Lenny Wilkens

Lenny Wilkens reigns as the all-time leader in wins for an NBA head coach. In a long 32 seasons coaching the Seattle Sonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks, Wilkens boasts a record of 1332-1155 and a winning percentage of .536. He also led the Sonics to the finals two times during the late 70’s, winning the 1978-79 season championship. Lastly, Wilkens won the 1993-94 Coach of the Year Award while leading Cleveland to 57 wins.

Larry Brown

5. Larry Brown

Larry Brown was especially great at getting (not particularly good) teams to thrive. During his 25-year career as an NBA head coach, Brown posted a record of 1240-910 and a winning percentage of .577. He is the only coach that has led seven different teams into the playoffs, and the only coach ever to have led both a college team and an NBA team to a championship. With the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000-01, Brown won the Coach of the Year Award, and was then inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.

Pat Riley

4. Pat Riley

With a 1210-694 record, .636 winning percentage and second ranking in playoff wins with 171, Pat Riley steals the spot at #4 on our Best Coaches in NBA History list. In the ‘80s, Pat Riley was the head coach of the "Showtime" Lakers, and in his 24-year career as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat, he’s accomplished five championships - four with the Lakers, and one with the Heat. Riley led his teams to the playoffs in each season of his career except for his last season with Miami - and he even won the NBA Coach of the Year Award three times (1990, 1993, and 1997).

Gregg Popovich

3. Gregg Popovich

At #3, Gregg Popovich has truly made a name for himself as one of the greatest coaches this past 10 seasons has seen. Over his 13-year coaching career, Popovich has led the San Antonio Spurs to four championships and 633 wins, with only 305 losses. He also won the 2002-03 NBA Coach of the Year Award, with 11 straight seasons boasting a winning percentage of .646 or higher.

Red Auerbach

2. Red Auerbach

Coming in hot at #2 on our Top 10 Greatest Coaches in NBA history list, Red Auerbach was coach and executive of the Boston Celtics for over 30 strong years. With a record of 823-426 and a .659 winning percentage, Auerbach led Boston to an awe-inspiring nine titles which included a remarkable eight straight titles from 1959 to 1966. In 1965, he had won the NBA Coach of the Year Award and was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1969.

Phil Jackson

1. Phil Jackson

First place on our Top 10 Best NBA Coaches list goes to the legendary coach Phil Jackson, who currently coaches the Lakers. With a whopping nine championships and incredible record of 980-418 in his 18-year coaching career (including an all-time high winning percentage of .703), Jackson is the one to beat. He also has the most playoff wins for a coach with 193, and won NBA Coach of the Year Award during the 1995-96 season. In 2007, Jackson was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame. And who knows - there could be even more championships on the horizon for this top coach.

And this wraps up our list! We hope you enjoyed our compilation of the Top 10 Best Coaches in NBA History who unquestionably possess some of the most impressive guidance skills leading teams to titles.