Best Portland Trail Blazers coaches of all-time, ranked
Despite having only one championship, the Portland Trail Blazers have been home to some of the best coaches in NBA history.
Since becoming a professional team in 1970, the Blazers have gone 2,163-1,873 in the regular season and made the playoffs 35 times. The franchise’s lone championship came back in 1977 when Portland defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in six games.
For this piece, we ranked the four best coaches in Portland history. After all, it takes a great leader of men to ultimately win basketball games on a consistent basis.
4. Mike Dunleavy Sr.
Mike Dunleavy Sr. coached the team for four seasons. Portland made the playoffs all four years and won 18 games with him leading the charge. He has the fourth-most playoff wins for a Portland coach and the second-highest winning percentage in the postseason.
Overall, Dunleavy won 190 games during the regular season as head coach of the Blazers, which is the fifth-most and second-highest winning percentage in franchise history.
During the 1998-99 season, the club went 35-15. Due to a lockout, the season did not start until February 5, 1999. Dunleavy won the Coach of the Year Award and guided Portland all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where the team wound up getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
3. Rick Adelman
For six seasons, Adelman was the man in charge of the Blazers and he did a great job. Portland went 291-154 under Adelman.
Rick is third on the Blazers’ all-time coaching wins list, making the postseason in all six years he was in Rip City.
The Blazers won 36 games in the playoffs with Adelman. He has the most playoff wins for a Portland coach and the highest winning percentage. Adelman’s Blazers team in 1990-91 won 63 games and got to the Western Conference Finals. Unfortunately, Portland fell to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Portland went to the NBA Finals twice under Adelman, losing both times. However, he will always be appreciated by Blazers fans.
2. Terry Stotts
Stotts has been with the Blazers since 2012. He has racked up 354 wins in the regular season, putting him in second place on the Blazers’ all-time coaching wins list. Stotts’ record of 19 playoff wins is good for third in the franchise.
There were rumors that the Blazers were going to fire Stotts after the Blazers got swept in the 2018 playoffs by the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round. However, Neil Olshey stood by his coach and the results paid off.
The Blazers went to the Western Conference Finals in 2018-19. Although they got swept by the Golden State Warriors, it was still good to see Stotts silence his critics a little bit.
1. Jack Ramsay
Ramsay is the only Blazers coach to win a championship. He won a whopping 453 games with Portland during the regular season and 29 in the playoffs.
The 1976-77 Blazers defeated the Sixers in the ’77 NBA Finals. In the six-game series, Portland legend Bill Walton averaged 18.5 points, 19.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 blocks — easily winning Finals MVP.
Ramsay was named a Hall of Famer as a coach in 1992. He passed away at the age of 89 in April of 2014. He will be a Blazers icon forever and Rip City will never forget the championship he brought in 1977.
The next player and coach to lead the Blazers to another championship will surely become the next icon in Portland like Walton and Ramsay were for the city back in the day.