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New Knicks point guard Luca Vildoza said it’s his “dream,’’ and he wasn’t talking about playing in the Olympics.
After Argentina’s rough 108-80 exhibition loss to Team USA on Tuesday in Las Vegas, Vildoza talked for the first time about signing with the Knicks for the 2021-22 season.
Vildoza scored just nine points Tuesday, going 3-for-8 (3-for-6 from 3-point range). Vildoza had some moments against the Americans, but not enough.
“I’m really happy to be part of the historic team,’’ Vildoza said on Zoom when asked by The Post about signing with the Knicks and playing for coach Tom Thibodeau. “I’ve been saying this for the last two months. For me, it’s a dream since I was a child, I was dreaming of this day. When I got there, coach was there. I’ve been talking to him — one of the best coaches in the league. It’s so special. This is my chance to get here and get through to my dream.’’
The 6-foot-5 Vildoza has shot decently from 3-point range, but hasn’t done enough other things as Argentina fell to 0-3 in the exhibitions. In the three contests, Vildoza is 8-for-19 from 3-point range.
“I got to get better,’’ said Vildoza, who played in the Spanish League last season. “I’m shooting too much 3’s without a reason, without thinking too much. I know I can get better on defense especially.”
Vildoza came off the bench in the first half, but started the second half. The point guard looked a tad slow on defense, losing Team USA point guard Darius Garland, who shook him off and got into the lane for an open jumper. Vildoza spent time guarding Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine in his 23:23 minutes.
“I’ve [been] doing this last two, three years in Europe and I know I can do it here,” said Vildoza, who signed a four-year, $13.6 million with the Knicks in May. “Today was a test for me against the best players in the world. I felt really good against them, but we lost by 30, and I got to get better. I got work to do.’’
Vildoza hit a 3-pointer on his first shot attempt, racing the ball upcourt and draining a pull-up. He had a terrible start, however, to the third quarter.
He had a shot in the lane blocked by Bam Adebayo, then launched a corner 3 that hit the side of the backboard. Soon after, Vildoza tried to put the ball on the floor and got stripped by Draymond Green. Then he missed another 3-pointer.
But Vildoza composed himself and sank two straight 3’s to close the third quarter. On the second one, Vildoza put the moves on Garland and drained it right over the Cavalier.
“We played bad, we weren’t prepared for this game,’’ said Vildoza, who has not spoken to the Knicks press corps since his May signing. “They were switching everything. We are a pick and roll team and they defended that. It’s tough but we got time.’’
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