25 Winningest NBA Coaches of All Time

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Gregg Popovich looks up after a game.
(Wikimedia Commons/Mike)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Apr 06, 2022, 4:18 PM

The 75th season of the NBA is record-breaking as previously set achievements have been shattered. On December 2, 2021, the Memphis Grizzlies had one of the biggest NBA moneyline wins ever when it defeated Oklahoma City Thunder, 152-79, to break Cleveland’s 1991 record (68 point-win against Miami) for the largest win margin in NBA history.

While Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors surpassed Ray Allen’s record for the most three-pointers made last December 14 when they faced the New York Knicks, Curry also broke his record for consecutive games with at least a three-point field goal at 158 during their game against the Utah Jazz on January 2.

No wonder Steph’s previous NBA Finals MVP odds are so enticing when the Dubs emerge from the Western Conference to play for the title.

Most recently, on March 11, Gregg Popovich eclipsed Don Nelson when his San Antonio squad defeated the Utah Jazz, 104-102, to become the winningest NBA head coach in the league’s history. It surpassed Nelson’s 1,335 regular-season wins, and more victories this season will separate him even more.

Popovich currently sits at the top of the winning column with 1,341 wins (and counting) since taking over in 1996 as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. He was also able to deliver five NBA Titles (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014) and six Western Conference titles during his current run with the Texas-based team. 

Additionally, he won the coach of the year honors in 2003, 2012 and 2014. 

Don Nelson currently holds the second-most number of wins by a head coach with 1,335 during his 31-year tenure as the head tactician of the Milwaukee Bucks (11 seasons), Golden State Warriors (11 seasons), Dallas Mavericks (eight seasons) and the New York Knicks (one season). 

Following Nelson in the most wins category is Lenny Wilkens. He spent 32 seasons with Seattle Supersonics (11seasons), Cleveland Cavaliers (seven seasons), Atlanta Hawks (seven seasons), Toronto Raptors (three seasons), Portland Trail Blazers (two seasons), and the New York Knicks (two seasons). Wilkens led the Sonics to back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 1978 and 1979 and helped them capture the title in 1979.

Here are the top 25 winningest coaches in NBA history as of March 30, 2022: 

Coach Total Wins
Gregg Popovich 1,341
Lenny Wilkens 1,335
Don Nelson 1,332
Jerry Sloan 1,221
Pat Riley 1,210
George Karl 1,175
Phil Jackson 1,155
Larry Brown 1,098
Rick Adelman 1,042
Doc Rivers 1,038
Bill Fitch 944
Red Auerbach 938
Dick Motta 935
Jack Ramsay 864
Rick Carlisle  861
Cotton Fitzsimmons 832
Gene Shue 784
John MacLeod 707
Nate McMillan 699
Red Holzman 696
Mike D’Antoni 672
Mike Fratello 667
Erik Spoelstra 655
Flip Saunders 654
Chuck Daly 638

 

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with B.A in Communication and is currently a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with B.A in Communication and is currently a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.