4 active coaches make NBA’s list of all-time top 15

February 9, 2022 - 12:15 PM
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Feb 7, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra (R) argues a call with referee Derek Richardson (L) against the Washington Wizards during the third quarter at Capital One Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Four active head coaches made the list of the NBA’s 15 all-time greatest coaches, revealed Tuesday in conjunction with the league’s ongoing 75th anniversary celebration.

The Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr, the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Doc Rivers and the Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra landed on the list, which was determined in a vote by 30 current head coaches and 13 former NBA head coaches.

The list also includes Phil Jackson, who won 11 championships while leading the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, and Red Auberbach, who guided the Boston Celtics to nine titles.

Pat Riley, who steered the Lakers and the Heat to a total of five crowns, was among the honorees. Popovich also has five championship rings.

The top five in all-time coaching victories were all selected: Don Nelson (1,335 wins), Lenny Wilkens (1,332), Popovich (1,330), Jerry Sloan (1,221) and Riley (1,210).

Rounding out the honorees were Larry Brown, Chuck Daly, Red Holzman, K.C. Jones and Jack Ramsay. Brown is eighth in coaching wins with 1,098, and Rivers is 10th with 1,024.

Kerr, in his eighth year as a head coach, has three championships. Spoelstra has two titles, and Rivers has one, from his time in charge of the Celtics.

Dwyane Wade, who won championships with the Heat in 2005-06 under Riley and 2011-12 under Spoelstra, said on TNT, “I always say Pat Riley set the standard, but Coach Spo improved on it.”

—Field Level Media