The NBA has seen some great coaches and it has seen others that didn’t cut it. Taking a tour around Basketballreference.com to gauge the worst coaches in league history. Going to set the bar they had to coach 100 games to make the cut before they found themselves cut.
The star guard from South Carolina had a great career on the floor. However, it didn’t translate to the sidelines. Winters was an astonishingly awful 36-148 for a winning percentage of .196 with Vancouver and Golden State.
Dick Harter had incredible success on the college level, guiding Penn to numerous NCAA championships before heading to Oregon. Eventually, he decided to step into the big league and it was not kind to him. Harter was 28-94 or a percentage of .230 with the Charlotte Hornets.
Clair Bee was a legend in the college game, too. However, the NBA was not kind to him, either. Bee was 32-107, equaling the .230 percentage of Harter. Bee was the coach of the Baltimore Bullets for two seasons. He won 16 games in each.
Next up is another person who saw great glory in college but didn’t quite make it as an NBA coach. Sidney Lowe was one of the players on North Carolina State when it stunned Houston and the college hoops world in 1983. Lowe coached 307 NBA games and lost 228 times for a winning percentage of .257. He was equally bad as head coach with Vancouver/Memphis and Minnesota.
Tim Floyd had the unenviable task of following Phil Jackson in Chicago. Not going to work out many times when you step into a legend’s chair. This was the case for Floyd, who went 90-231 overall for a .280 percentage. In Chicago, Floyd went 49-190. He increased his winning percentage by splitting 82 games over one season in New Orleans.
Gene Littles was 44-111 as a head coach, which left him with the same percentage (.284) as Rambis. Littles took over in Cleveland when George Karl was fired near the end of the 1985-86 season and went 4-11. His single full season occurred in 1990-91 with Charlotte and he was 26-56. He also coached Denver for 16 games in 1994-95, winning three times.
Jack McCloskey was a great GM and responsible for the Bad Boys in Detroit as the Pistons won multiple NBA championships. However, the sidelines didn’t do it for McCloskey, who was 48-116 for a .293 mark. McCloskey’s time as a head coach came after a college career on the sidelines from 1956-72 at Wake Forest and Penn. He was coach of the Trail Blazers for two seasons.
M.L, Carr was beloved in Boston, He was quite the player and personality on Boston Celtics title teams. When he coached, it didn’t pan out. Carr stalled with the same 48-116 mark as McCloskey and wound up at .293. The Celtics went in reverse badly with Carr at the helm, winning 33 games in 1995-96 then 15 the following season.
Ron Rothstein spent many a season on the sidelines as a successful assistant coach. The step up to head was not kind as Rothstein only won 97 of 328 games for a winning percentage of .296. Rothstein actually has a legit excuse. He was the first head coach of the expansion Miami Heat and few — if any — coaches are going to survive the early years of a franchise in many sports. Rothstein won 47 games in three seasons as Miami head coach and 40 in his loan campaign as coach of the Detroit Pistons. Rothstein was a three-time champion as an assistant coach. So, take that.
Bill Musselman was fiery and had plenty of reason to have his temper flare as a coach, going, 78-180 for a .302 mark. His Wiki page credits Musselman with the following quote: “Defeat is worse than death because you have to live with defeat. Musselman also coached in the ABA with a similar lack of success, going 12-30.
Eddie Donovan had the misfortune of coaching the Knicks prior to their great teams that won two titles in the ‘70s. That said, Donovan was the GM of those great Knick teams and drafted Willis Reed and swung the trade for Dave DeBussschere He was 84-194 for the same .302 mark as Musselman. Donovan was actually the Knicks’ coach when Wilt Chamberlain went for 100 against them in 1962.