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Best Nuggets coaches

Best Denver Nuggets coaches of all-time, ranked

Despite having zero championships in franchise history, the Denver Nuggets have employed some of the best coaches in NBA history.

Since becoming a professional team all the way back in 1967, the Nuggets have a regular-season record of 2,159-2,128. The franchise has made the playoffs 25 times in the NBA and nine times in the ABA.

For this piece, we ranked the four best Denver coaches in franchise history, starting off with the guy who is currently running the show and doing a great job.

4. Michael Malone

Malone was hired by Denver in June of 2015. All he’s done since then is win 216 games and turn the franchise into a fun team to watch again.

Malone is already fourth on the Nuggets’ all-time wins list. He guided Denver to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2013. The Nuggets got to the second round, where they wound up losing in seven epic games to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Before the 2019-20 season got suspended due to COVID-19, Malone had the Nuggets in third place in the rugged Western Conference standings. Denver had an impressive record of 43-22.

3. Larry Brown

Brown, one of the best coaches the game of basketball has ever seen, won 251 games with the Nuggets in five years. He guided the franchise to the playoffs four times from 1975 to 1979.

Larry has the third-most wins for a Denver coach. He’s also got the best winning percentage in regular-season history and the second-most playoff wins.

The best Nuggets team Brown coached was the 1976-77 squad. Denver won 50 games but lost to the Blazers in the Western Conference Semifinals in six games. Back then, there was no first round of the playoffs. If that’s not a random bit of Nuggets news, I don’t know what is.

2. George Karl

Karl racked up 423 wins with the Nuggets. That’s good for second all-time in the coaching record books for the franchise. For nine seasons, Karl was the man in charge of the Nuggets. The team made the playoffs all nine years George was in the Mile High City.

The 2008-09 Nuggets went all the way to the Western Conference Finals under Karl’s tutelage. That’s the team that was led by Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Denver lost to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. That 2008-09 Nuggets team was a treat to watch. Despite not winning it all, they will be remembered forever in Denver.

Karl won 21 playoff games with Denver. He’s got the second-most postseason wins. If his relationship with Anthony had been better, the Nuggets probably win more games during the Anthony era and maybe Melo doesn’t force his way out of town.

1. Doug Moe

Moe coached the Nuggets for 10 years and was also an assistant coach for another six. He has the most wins for any coach in Denver franchise history. Moe won 432 regular-season games and 24 postseason contests.

The Nuggets missed the playoffs just once under Moe. Doug’s best Nuggets team was the 1987-88 group which won 54 games and got to the Western Conference Semifinals, where they fell to the Dallas Mavericks in six games after defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round.

Moe was named Coach of the Year in 1987-88. He’s got the sixth-best winning percentage for a Nuggets coach in the regular season.

Moe, Karl and Brown are the only coaches in franchise history to lead the team to the conference finals. Brown took the Nuggets to the Finals but they were still in the ABA at the time. As an NBA franchise, the Nuggets have yet to reach the Finals.