Top 8 Best NBA Coaches (2021-2022)
The recognition of the importance of coaching in their respective sports by the basketball governing bodies has enabled coaches to compete for the top spot among their peers — while simultaneously preparing their players to reach even greater heights in both the present and the future. However, it is the coach who should be commended for the effort. In this regard, these best NBA coaches led their teams to bring home several awards and take the team to the next level.
Coaches motivate and inspire their teams to play with passion and achieve success at the greatest level and earn several awards. Although many great coaches have come and gone, only some of these great coaches have been hailed as the best in the league’s history based on their contribution to the game during their respective periods.
Top 8 Best NBA Coaches
#8 – Don Nelson
Don Nelson is an American businessman and philanthropist. Sadly, Nelson was unsuccessful in his attempts to win an NBA title with any of the teams he managed during his 31 years of active coaching in the league. Nelson was considered a genius by many. However, if he had been given the opportunity to work with only the best players in NBA history, the outcome might have been different.
Despite the fact that he did not win a medal during his stint as head coach, he was elected best coach three times: in 1983, 1985 and 1992. He may not have had the luxury of instructing the finest players at the same time managing them to near perfection, but his record as the NBA’s all-time winningest coach (1335 victories in 31 seasons) places him among the best managers in the league’s history.
On the basketball court, Don Nelson is best known for coaching the Milwaukee Bucks to their lone title in 1971. In 1975, he was the driving force behind the Warriors’ first championship. Nelson is the most successful coach in the NBA, having won 1,335 games (a record he shares with Lenny Wilkens). When Don Nelson was admitted to the university in 1992, he was working as a coach.
#7 – Larry Brown
Larry Brown is an American basketball coach, who has also been a player, scout, and general manager. He is best known for his successful tenure as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons, where he won the NBA Championship in 2004.
Brown was born in Brooklyn, New York. He played college basketball at North Carolina under Dean Smith, making it to two Final Fours. As a head coach, Brown has taken his teams to 18 playoffs and five NBA Finals. He has also been named Coach of the Year twice (2004 with Detroit and 2005 with Philadelphia).
Larry Brown started coaching at Davidson College in 1969. In 1988, he became the first coach to lead four different colleges to the NCAA tournament. From 1997 to 2001, Brown coached the Indiana Pacers but was fired partway through the season after a brawl between players and fans erupted at a game.
In 2002, Brown took over the Philadelphia 76ers. He led them to the playoffs in his first year and then won the NBA Championship in 2004. After leaving Philadelphia, Brown took over as head coach of the Detroit Pistons. He led them to the playoffs in each of his first four years, winning the NBA Championship in 2004. Brown left Detroit in 2008. Brown is currently coaching Southern Methodist University (SMU).
#6 – Pat Riley
Pat Riley has coached four different teams (Knicks, Lakers, Heat, Mavericks) and has won five NBA championships (four with the Lakers and one with the Heat). He has also been named Coach of the Year three times (1990, 1992, 2005). Riley is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach and executive. He was one of the best NBA coaches from then until now.
Riley was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2008. Pat Riley is best known as the head coach who led the Los Angeles Lakers to four NBA championships in five years. He is also known for his trademark “guarantee” before the start of the 1996 NBA Finals.
#5 – Red Holzman
Red Holzman is best known as the head coach of the New York Knicks who led them to two NBA championships. He was also the first coach to win 1,000 games in the NBA. Holzman was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986 as a coach. He was one of the best NBA coaches.
Holzman’s coaching career began with the New York Knickerbockers (now known as the Knicks) in 1965. After leading the Knicks to their first NBA championship in 1970, he coached them to another title in 1973. In total, Holzman won 1,063 games during his coaching career, which is bested only by Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson.
After retiring from coaching in 1985, Holzman was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. In 2006, he was also elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.
#4 – Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich is best known as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, who has led them to five NBA championships. He is also the longest-tenured head coach in the NBA and has been named Coach of the Year three times (2003, 2012, 2017). Gregg Popovich is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. Popovich was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2018.
#3 – Erik Spoelstra
Erik Spoelstra is best known as the head coach of the Miami Heat who led them to two NBA championships. He is also the first Asian American head coach in the NBA. Erik Spoelstra is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach.
Spoelstra was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2018.
#2 – Rick Carlisle
Rick Carlisle is best known as the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks who led them to an NBA championship. He is also a two-time Coach of the Year (2011, 2014). Carlisle is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach.
Carlisle was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2018.
#1 – Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers is best known as the head coach of the Boston Celtics who led them to an NBA championship. He is also a one-time Coach of the Year (2008). Rivers is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach.
Rivers was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2011.
These are the best NBA coaches as of 2021-2022. They have all led their teams to championships and been recognized with awards for their coaching excellence. These coaches are sure to continue leading their teams to success in the years to come.