Lakers: Ball and Kuzma are one of the best rookie duos of the 2000s

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08: (L-R) Kyle Kuzma (L) (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08: (L-R) Kyle Kuzma (L) (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images) /

4. Luol Deng and Ben Gordon — 2004-2005 Chicago Bulls

Combined rookie stats: 26.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists

Laker fans definitely are familiar with Luol Deng now as his massive contract and virtually absent production is anchoring the team down from making significant moves. However, Deng has put together a great NBA career that warranted that payday, it just sucks that is was the Lakers that bit. Deng’s great career got off to a fast start alongside rookie teammate Ben Gordon.

Both Deng and Gordon were top ten picks in the 2004 NBA Draft. The Chicago Bulls selected Gordon third overall with their pick, the Suns selecting Luol Deng seventh overall with theirs. However, the Suns agreed prior to the pick to trade Deng for a future first-round pick (which ended up being Nate Robinson) and Jackson Vroman.

Thus a great rookie duo was born. Gordon led the way in scoring despite playing exclusively off the bench. Gordon averaged 15.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in 24.4 minutes played. Meanwhile, Deng averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 27.3 minutes per game.

Both Gordon and Deng were selected to the 2004-2005 NBA All-Rookie First Team. Deng would go on to make two all-star teams in his career while Ben Gordon only won the 2004-2005 Sixth Man of the Year award. Both men had good careers, Deng’s slightly better. Although niether have Hall of Fame type numbers, they were one of the best rookie duos of the 2000s.