Eliminate Conferences, Not Divisions
Adam Silver is misguided in his goal to eliminate divisions in the NBA. He needs to eliminate the conferences.
Once the Sonics return to Seattle, it's a foregone conclusion that Gary Payton's #20 jersey will be raised to the rafters. The man is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It's highly assumed that #40 will be raised, as well, for Payton's running mate, Shawn Kemp. Those two were the catalyst of a team that won 64 games and went to the NBA Finals. However, there was another man on that team who contributed greatly to their success, and that man is three-time NBA All-Star (all during his tenure with Seattle) Detlef Schrempf.
I recently had a discussion with our own Kevin Nesgoda on whether or not Detlef's #11 jersey should also be retired. Initially Kevin was on the side saying it should, and I was on the side saying it should not. We discussed whether his Sonics career was on par with those of Fred Brown, Spencer Haywood and Gus Williams. Obviously he wasn't the "go-to" guy for his team, but he was a leader, a fan favorite and an integral part of possibly the greatest Sonics team ever.
For reference, I have attached Detlef's numbers during his Sonics career, as well as the stats of other Sonics who have had their numbers retired.
I have omitted Nate McMillan, since I feel his number's retirement was based almost exclusively on sentiment. McMillan spent his entire career with the Sonics, something that can not be said for Schrempf. UPDATE: I have added McMillan's stats as well.
UPDATE: For reference, here are Payton and Kemp's stats during their Sonics tenures;
As you can see, Detlef's stats are right in line with the Sonics' all-time greats. However, the fact remains that he was still the third man on that team, yet one who provided veteran leadership.
After all of this, I still find myself on the side that believes Detlef's stats do not warrant a jersey retirement. However, when you add in the sentiment factor, the fact that Detlef was a Husky, that he was on the Sonics' coaching staff after his retirement and the fact that he still lives in Seattle, I find myself swayed, and deciding that honoring #11 would be more than fair. What say you, Sonics fans?