Should the New York Knicks be considering Luca Vildoza as a potential solution to their PG woes?
One of the more attractive foreign prospects heading into the 2021 season was Baskonia point guard Luca Vildoza. At 25 years old, he has immense experience in the EuroLeague and is looking to make the transition to the NBA, but the question remains, how well can his statistical outputs translate?
This past season, he averaged 10.1 points, 3.4 assists, and shot .410 from the field. He also hit on .376 of his shots from range, attempting 4.8 per game, the highest of his career. He quickly adapted his game to attract attention from NBA teams, specifically with the deep-ball.
Vildoza is expected to partake in the Tokyo Olympics this summer with Argentinaâ€™s National Team; this will offer fans their first glimpse at his capabilities against better talent. Ultimately, it should provide us with a small trial of what he can do for the Knicks in the future, and if he can be there starting point guard next season.
One former Knick had nothing but great things to say about his Argentinian compadre:
â€œ[Vildoza is] really, really good,â€™â€™ Pablo Prigioni told The Post. â€œI really like him. Very talented, got a great shot and knows how to pass. Iâ€™m really excited to see Luca next season with the Knicks. Tomâ€™s going to like him.â€™â€™
Prigioni is confident that Vildoza’s strengths will translate to the NBA level, specifically his smooth shot and vision on the court. He even went as far to say as the 25-year-old is currently more talented than he was when he entered the NBA, except for the experience factor, which can play a big part in taking high percentage shots and managing a game.
â€œI would say heâ€™s more talented than me, to be honest,â€™â€™ Prigioni said. â€œI came in with more experience â€” knowing exactly what I can do for the team to have an impact. Heâ€™s younger and more talented. He has a really nice shot. Youâ€™ll see. He can score the ball from 3. Heâ€™s a good passer.
Given his abilities from beyond the arc, Luca should make an impact immediately for the Knicks, especially if they allow Derrick Rose to walk in free agency. The pair agreed to a four-year, $13.6 million deal, which isnâ€™t fully guaranteed.
â€œHeâ€™s got good legs to [kneel] down and guard. I had instincts playing defense and getting steals and playing smarts, and thatâ€™s something heâ€™ll get with age and years. We have some [similarities], but Iâ€™d say heâ€™s really more talented.â€™â€™
Despite his talents, Vildoza shouldnâ€™t deter the Knicks from targeting a star point guard this off-season. Taking a massive risk on a transitioning player would be silly for a team that has over $60 million in available salary space and their eyes on some of the biggest players in the NBA, including Damian Lillard and Chris Paul. However, they shouldnâ€™t sell Vildoza short, especially after gaining positive reviews from Prigioni, whoâ€™s a respected coach with Minnesota.