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Does Max Strus have a future with the Miami Heat?

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The shortened season may give Strus the chance to stay in the NBA.

NBA: Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

How the heck did Max Strus recently get minutes for the Miami Heat? Early observers were not too kind to him. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune,

“Once Strus declared for the draft, he had to fill out an evaluation form. According to Strus, 25 teams returned the form, noting what they believed he needed to work on to get better.”

“After he was declared undraftable, that denied him the chance to be invited to any personal workouts in front of NBA teams.”

“Based on the feedback he received from the NBA, Strus needs to improve his ball-handling skills and defense.”

Another writer trashed Strus’ chances for a spot on a NBA roster.

“For those who haven’t had the pleasure to be introduced, Max Strus is a trigger happy guard who transferred from Division II Lewis University in the offseason and has established himself as one of DePaul’s best players. He’s got a reputation as a deadeye shooter, though the results haven’t borne that out yet. In any case, he’s athletic, emotive, and a lot of fun to watch as long as he’s not on your team.

“But never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine Draft Express, the most trusted NBA draft gurus out there, would include Strus as a sleeper NBA candidate. He has poor shot selection, doesn’t create much for others, plays JJJ style defense and does not read the game well at all.”

Fast forward to this recent tweet on Strus from the Miami Heat:

Max Strus popped up off the bench and proceeded to just get buckets.

What changed? Turns out Strus is more dangerous around the rim than from distance. Among the 359 players with 32 or more field goal attempts (FGA) in the restricted area, the Heat has three of the most efficient ones: Strus 93.8% (30/32), Thomas Bryant 90.5% (38/42), Dewayne Dedmon 84.8% (28/33), Damian Jones 81.4% (35/43), Duncan Robinson 80.4% (45/56). The small sample sizes could give misleading results until more data is collected.

Strus’ downfall might come if too much is expected from his jump shot at the NBA level. While he finishes at a 93.8% pace within 5 feet of the hoop, that percentage goes down to 30.3% from 25 feet and beyond (27/89). On 3-pointers he converts 42.8% (15/35) from the corners, but only 29.9% (29/97) beyond the break. The shot type summary notes Strus makes 33.6% (45/134) of his jumpers, but 94.7% (36/38) of his layups, finger rolls, dunks, etc. Strus loves to play bully ball, though unfortunately he has an itch to launch a shot from anywhere on the court.

MAX STRUS WILL DUNK ON YOU

Strus has grabbed enough attention that a video was created highlighting his underdog story.

Presently at a solid 6’5” and 215 lbs Strus has gone a long way from discussing his growth spurt and love of dunking during his teenage years.

Depending on how the season finishes the Strus saga makes roster decisions even more difficult than before. Strus’ name may pop up unexpectedly as the rumor mill heats up this summer.