30. Paul Silas
Paul Silas is a highly respected member of the basketball community. He was a 2-time All-Star as a player, and also won three NBA Titles for good measure. He then transitioned over to the world of coaching — where he enjoyed a 12-year career. Silas ends up on this list solely because of his last year as an NBA head coach. During the 2011-12 season, the Silas-led Charlotte Bobcats finished with a 7-59 record. No, that isn’t a typo.
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29. Derek Fisher
Fisher was absolutely abysmal during his time as head coach of the New York Knicks. Phil Jackson’s prior relationship with Fisher led to him landing a 5-year/$25 million deal despite having no prior coaching experience. Fisher attempted (and failed) to institute the Triangle offense. Fisher was fired midway through his second season. He finished with a combined record of 40-96 (a 29.4-percent winning percentage).
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28. Rick Pitino
Pitino is famously (or infamously) known for his time on the collegiate level. Transgressions aside, the man knows how to coach on that level. When it came to the NBA, this wasn’t the case. Pitino floundered brilliantly as the Celtics head coach. In four years, he accrued a 102-146 record. Pitino hated being in Boston so much, that he resigned from the post despite being owed more than $20 million — and having six more years on his deal.
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27. John Calipari
Like Pitino, Calipari made a name for himself on the collegiate level. After leading UMass to a Final Four appearance, the then-New Jersey Nets came calling. In a little more than two years, Calipari accrued a 72-112 record. (including a 3-17 record during Year 3). This led to Calipari leaving the team — in large part due to a disgruntled locker room.
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26. Fred Hoiberg
A former role player in the NBA, Hoiberg built a coaching reputation at Iowa State as an offensive savant. Many in Chicago were bullish over the prospects of him reinvigorating the roster. During his first season in Chicago, the Bulls missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. From there, Hoiberg had only one playoff appearances over the next three years. He was fired after accumulating a career mark of 115-155. Based upon the talent Hoiberg had to work with in Chicago, he massively underachieved.
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25. Jeff Hornacek
Hornacek is a bit of a one-hit wonder. He took over a loaded Phoenix team, and led them to 48 wins in 2013 (though the Suns didn’t make the playoffs). After that, Hornacek won no more than 39 games in any single season. His tenure in New York was pitiful. When forced to run the Triangle offense, Hornacek led the Knicks to a combined record of 60-104. It’s never a good thing when you’re fired by two franchises in the span of five years.
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24. Eddie Jordan
Jordan was not a good coach — plain and simple. His teams were often easy to scheme against. There was a lack of sophistication as it pertained to his play calling. Though he did lead the Wizards to four-straight playoff appearances, the team underachieved considerably in relation to its talent. This included having the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler in their respective primes. After being fired by the Wizards for a 1-10 start in 2008, the 76ers fired Jordan after only one season (with a 27-55 record). He hasn’t gotten an NBA head coaching position since 2010.
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23. Larry Drew
Larry Drew is one of those coaches who’s much better equipped to be an assistant rather than a lead man. His numbers certainly back up this claim, as he’s accumulated a weak .418 win percentage in five years as a head coach. As the coach of a rather talented Atlanta squad (featuring Al Horford, Lou Williams, Jeff Teague, Josh Smith, and Kyle Korver), Drew was bounced in the first round twice. After that, he accumulated a 15-67 record with the Bucks, and a 19-57 record with the Cavs. Unsurprisingly, Drew hasn’t gotten a head coaching gig since.
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22. Tyrone Corbin
Corbin was much better as a player than he was as a head coach in the NBA. His teams rarely looked prepared. There was a general lack of energy displayed by Corbin-led teams. In addition, there’s an absence of offensive execution generally displayed by all of his Utah teams. During his final head coaching gig with the Kings in 2014-15, Corbin led Sacramento to a 7-21 record.
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21. John Lucas
John Lucas II is firmly embedded within the fabric of the NBA. His 15-year playing career was further punctuated by a lengthy spell coaching as both a head coach and an assistant. As a head coach, Lucas only made the playoffs twice in six years. He was fired in 2002 by the Cavs after beginning his second season with an 8-34 record. Fortunately for Lucas II, he’s carved out a career as a mentor for many young players.
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20. Willis Reed
Willis Reed was a FAR better player than he was a coach. The two-time Finals MVP spent four years as a head coach. In two years as the Knicks head coach, Reed finished with a 49-47 combined record. When with the Nets, Reed went 33-77. His career win percentage of .398 is horrible, to say the least.
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19. Garry St. Jean
Garry St. Jean may have a cool name, but he’s proven to be a very bad basketball coach. Never once did he win more than 39 games in a single season. In five years with the Kings, St. Jean made the playoffs only once. In his only season with Golden State, St. Jean led the team to a 13-42 record.
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18. Wes Unseld
Unseld is a legend in Washington. It came as no surprise to see the franchise turn the keys over to one of its best all-time players. Sadly, Unseld never was able to lead the Bullets to eternal glory. In seven years as Washington’s head coach, Unseld finished with a 202-345 record (.369 win percentage). This horrible tenure included three-straight seasons with 25 or fewer wins.
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17. Dick Vitale
Yes, Dick Vitale was actually a professional basketball coach. This may come as a surprise to those who have seen him slobbering over Duke on ESPN for years and years. After four strong years at Detroit Mercy, the Pistons decided to see whether Vitale would be able to carry that brilliance over to the professional game. In Year 1 of the Vitale experiment, the Pistons went 30-52. After starting Year 2 with a 4-8 record, Vitale was fired. He hasn’t coached on any level since 1979.
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16. Keith Smart
Smart was a journeyman player all over the world. He played one year with the Spurs before embarking on a career which saw him play in Canada, the Philippines, Venezuela, and across the United States in lower leagues. After building his way up as an assistant, many thought Smart would be an excellent head coach. Boy, were those people wrong. In four seasons as a head coach, Smart compiled a 93-170 record. He never won more than 36 games in any season. Currently, Smart is an assistant coach for the New York Knicks.
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15. Bill Cartwright
Cartwright was a beloved center on three of Chicago’s title teams during the dominant ’90s run. Upon retiring, he became an assistant on the same team. This eventually led him into coaching the Bulls as the head man. We get that following Phil Jackson isn’t an easy thing. With that said, we’d expect Cartwright to do a bit better than 51-100 in a little more than two seasons. Only 14 games into his third year, Cartwright was fired.
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14. Ron Rothstein
The Bronx native became an NBA assistant coach all the way back in 1983. After six years as an assistant, Rothstein got his first head coaching gig in 1988 with the Miami Heat. As an expansion franchise, Rothstein was thrown into the proverbial deep end from the get-go. The team finished 15-67 (which included a 3-38 road record). From there, Rothstein had two more years with the Heat, and only one year with the Detroit Pistons. He accumulated a .296 win percentage collectively during this time (97-231).
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13. Jim Boylen
Jim Boylen is a quirky guy. A longtime NBA assistant coach, he finally got his shot in 2018 with the Chicago Bulls. From the jump, Boylen instituted weird substitution patterns, bad defensive schemes, and long, bizarre practice rituals. Boylen’s unorthodox habits includes making his players clock in and out of the practice facility. During his first week as a head coach, the Bulls lost to the Celtics by 56 points. A few games into the 2019 season, the Baby Bulls had already lost to essentially every bottom-feeder in the NBA. Call it a hunch, but his tenure in Chicago might turn out to be an unmitigated disaster.
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12. Brendan Malone
The New York Native was a fixture all throughout the Northeast region of the United States. Whether it be high school, college, or the NBA, Malone is well known. A former defensive guru with the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons, Malone became the first head coach in Toronto Raptors history. In only one year in Toronto, Malone went 21-61. When combining a short stint as the head coach with the Cavs, Malone finished his head coaching career with a 29-71 overall record. This equates to a minuscule .290 win percentage.
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11. Bill Hanzlik
We give Bill Hanzlik credit for sporting such a bold mustache. We also respect him for being an All-NBA defender during his time with the Denver Nuggets. While he had a solid career as a role player, the Ohio native had a very rough go of it as a head coach. In his only year with the Denver Nuggets, Hanzlik led the team to a 11-71 record. He was immediately replaced by Mike D’Antoni. To date, no other rookie coach has accumulated a worse record than Hanzlik.
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10. Earl Watson
A former star player at UCLA, Watson carved out a solid career for himself as a backup point guard. Known as a heady player, it was only natural for Watson to enter the arena of coaching. Watson retained the head coaching position for the Suns after taking over for the fired Jeff Hornacek. In his first full season, Watson went 24-58. The following year — after losing by 42 points in the third game of the season — Watson was fired. This came on the heels of Phoenix losing by 48 in the season opener. It’s never a good thing when a team quits on their coach during the first game of the season.
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9. Jacque Vaughn
Much like Watson, Vaughn spent much of his career as a clever backup guard. The LA native ended up spending two years as an assistant under Gregg Popovich before landing the Orlando Magic head coaching job. In Year 1 on the job, Vaughn won only 20 games. Year 2 netted him minimal improvement (23 wins). In Year 3, Vaughn was canned after starting the year 15-37. This wasn’t a case where Orlando was void of talent. He had a team which included the likes of Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu. Vaughn currently is an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets.
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8. Mike Montgomery
Mike Montgomery was a legendary coach at Stanford. Seeing his prowess in the Bay Area for over a decade, the Warriors’ front office decided to peg Montgomery as the coach for its young roster. With his track record of developing talent in Palo Alto, many thought this would prove to be a slam dunk of a hire. In two years with the Warriors, Montgomery finished with identical 34-48 records. After being fired, Don Nelson took essentially the same exact group of players to the playoffs the following year. Nelson’s group was the No. 8 seed who became famous for upsetting the No. 1 Dallas Mavericks in Round 1 of the 2006 playoffs.
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7. Marc Iavaroni
Iavaroni took over a team with Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, Mike Miller, and Kyle Lowry. Bizarrely enough, this team finished 22-60. The following year, Iavaroni’s team began the season 11-30 before he was ultimately fired. He hasn’t had a head coaching job since, and has been completely out of the NBA since 2013. His .268 win percentage is among the worst all-time for an NBA head coach.
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6. Kurt Rambis
Kurt Rambis is one of those guys who seems to fall upward wherever he goes. He’s currently a member of the Lakers front office. Before then, he somehow managed to continually get coaching jobs throughout his career. When pegged as the Minnesota Timberwolves head coach, Rambis turned in back-to-back seasons of 15 and 17 wins, respectively. The former NBA player also went 9-19 in his brief time with the Knicks. In total, Rambis has a putrid career win percentage of .284.
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5. Sidney Lowe
Lowe has been an average-to-extremely bad coach everywhere he’s been. In 10 years of head coaching experience between the college and professional ranks, Lowe has only three seasons with a winning record. With the Timberwolves, Lowe was fired after accruing a combined mark of 33-102. He then had a three-year stint with the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies. During this time, Lowe won 46 out of a possible 172 games. He saved Memphis the trouble of firing him by quitting after starting 0-8 in 2002. For his NBA head coaching career, Lowe’s .257 win percentage is historically atrocious.
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4. Isiah Thomas
Thomas wasn’t that bad as head coach. He did lead the Pacers to three-straight playoff appearances. However, those in New York will tell you that he essentially cratered the franchise in a huge way. As the GM/Head Coach of the Knicks, Thomas abused that power brutally. He signed a number of bad free agents to bloated contracts. In the process, his prickly personality did not sit well with the franchise, its fans, or the players on his team. Thomas was let go after two bad seasons in the Big Apple. It’s unknown as to whether Thomas is even allowed back in New York City.
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3. Roy Rubin
You’ve probably never heard of Roy Rubin before — and for good reason. The former Louisville guard coached the Philadelphia 76ers for one year during the 1972-73 season. He landed the job after answering an advertisement in a local Philadelphia paper. The team lost its first 15 games before winning one. Ultimately, the Rubin-led 76ers began that season 4-47 before he was fired. Many of the players on the team lamented over Rubin’s lack of professionalism. After this dreadful year ended, Rubin left basketball to run an IHOP. He never participated in the NBA again after this dubious season.
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2. Brian Winters
Winters had not one, but two opportunities to completely screw up as a professional basketball coach. He was pegged to coach the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies during the 1995-96 season. That year, Vancouver went 15-67. Over the course of the following season, the Winters-led Grizzlies lost 23 straight games. They reached 100 losses faster than any other team in league history. Winters then somehow landed the interim head coaching gig with the Golden State Warriors. He went 13-46 during this time. In total, Winters finished his NBA head coaching career with a .196 win percentage.
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1. Tim Floyd
To be fair to Floyd, it was going to be nearly impossible for anyone to follow in Phil Jackson’s footsteps. The team had won titles in six of the previous eight seasons when Floyd took over. Without Phil, MJ, and Scottie, the Bulls became a dumpster fire. Floyd’s first year in Chicago netted the team 13 wins. He followed that up with seasons of 15 and 17 wins. Inexplicably making it to Year 4, Floyd began the season 4-21 before resigning. Had it not been for a 41-41 year in New Orleans, Floyd would’ve had the worst win percentage in league history. With Chicago alone, Floyd won only 25.7-percent of his games.
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