NBA

Who are the winningest head coaches in NBA history?

Hall of Famer Don Nelson is the winningest head coach in NBA history with 1,335 wins to his name.

Over a 34-year NBA coaching career, Nelson served at the helm of four different franchises in the Milwaukee Bucks (1976-1987), Golden State Warriors (1988-1995; 2006-2010), New York Knicks (1995-1996) and Dallas Mavericks (1997-2005).

Nelson's most successful stint was with the Bucks, who he led to 540 wins. A close second to Nelson is another Hall of Famer in Lenny Wilkens, who amassed 1,332 wins.

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The only other head coach to have recorded more than 1,300 wins is the current head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich. Unlike Nelson and Wilkens, all of Pop's wins have come with one franchise.

Here's a look at the 10 winningest coaches in NBA history. Active coaches in bold:

Top 10 winningest coaches in NBA history
Rank Coach Career Wins Win %
1. Don Nelson 1976 - 2010 1335 .557
2. Lenny Wilkens 1969 - 2005 1332 .536
3. Gregg Popovich 1996 - Present 1310 .667
4. Jerry Sloan 1979 - 2011 1221 .603
5. Pat Riley 1981 - 2008 1210 .636
6. George Karl 1984 - 2016 1175 .588
7. Phil Jackson 1989 - 2011 1155 .704
8. Larry Brown 1976 - 2011 1098 .548
9. Rick Adelman 1988 - 2014 1042 .582
10. Doc Rivers 1999 - Present 992 .585

Leading into the 2021-22 season, Popovich has recorded 1,310 wins and only needs 26 more to climb to the top of the leaderboard.

After Popovich, Doc Rivers is the only active coach among the 10 winningest coaches ever. A majority of Rivers' 992 wins (prior to the 2021-22 season) came as the head coach of the Boston Celtics (416) and the LA Clippers (356).

There are a handful of other active NBA coaches in the top 30 including Rick Carlisle (836 wins, 15th), Nate McMillan (688, 20th), and Erik Spoelstra (607, 27th).

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