The Ten Greatest Players in Supersonics History #7

#7 in our continuing countdown of the ten greatest players in Sonics history is a familiar face to those who watched the team in the 90s.

7. Detlef Schrempf.

Born in Leverkusen Germany, and schooled in Washington State, Schrempf was a highly versatile, durable player who was a three-time All-Star. His 6-10 frame made him a steady rebounder and his signature rainbow jumper had nearly unlimited range, as witnessed by his 38.4% career 3-point percentage.

After a distinguished college career at the University of Washington, Schrempf was drafted #8 overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1985 NBA Draft, respectively five and four spots behind future Sonics Xavier McDaniel and Benoit Benjamin (shudder). Schrempf spent the first four seasons of his career as a Mav before being traded to the Indiana Pacers, where he won the Sixth Man of the Year Award two consecutive times. On November 1, 1993 he was traded to the Sonics in exchange for fan favorite and clubhouse leader Derrick McKey and Gerald Paddio – a trade that worked out fairly well for both teams in retrospect. Schrempf’s arrival, along with former Laker Sam Perkins, put a solid veteran core around young stars Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, and rocketed the Sonics to the upper echelon of the Western Conference for the next five years.

1994-95 was probably Schrempf’s best individual performance. He averaged 19.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 3.8 APG while shooting 52.3% from the field, a staggering 51.4% from 3 range, and 83.9% from the line. Unfortunately another golden opportunity for the Sonics to win a championship while Michael Jordan was playing minor league baseball was squandered as the Sonics lost in the first round to the Lakers, 3 games to 1.

By the time of the NBA lockout in 1998-99 Schrempf was 36 years old and beginning to slow. Miffed at not being tendered a contract, Schrempf signed as a free agent with the Portland Trailblazers and closed out his career playing a couple of years in a limited role. However, he is best remembered for his years with the Sonics in the early to mid-90’s, where "The Mercedes" was a matchup nightmare and perfect complementary player to the Kemp/Payton duo.

Here's a somewhat blurry but definitely all-inclusive video of the man, the legend, the flat top, Detlef Schrempf:

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