The offseason has arrived for the Miami Heat, who were swept out of the first round in the NBA playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks — losing their four games by a combined 82 points.
Before we deep dive into everything regarding the future months for this team, let’s discuss the 2020-21 seasons for Heat players who played and on the roster.
For our 15th player review — conducted in alphabetical order — we will look at second-year guard Max Strus. Here’s the previous 14 Heat players we’ve reviewed:
- Precious Achiuwa
- Bam Adebayo
- Trevor Ariza
- Nemanja Bjelica
- Jimmy Butler
- Dewayne Dedmon
- Goran Dragic
- Udonis Haslem
- Tyler Herro
- Andre Iguodala
- Kendrick Nunn
- KZ Okpala
- Victor Oladipo
- Duncan Robinson
Let’s dive into it!
2020-21 stats (39 games):
- 6.1 PPG
- 45.5 field goal percentage
- 59.7 true shooting percentage
- 12.1 player efficiency rating
Strus, who went undrafted in 2019 out of DePaul, spent time in both the Boston Celtics’ and Chicago Bulls organizations in the 2019-20 season. He appeared in just two NBA games — six total minutes — with the Bulls in his rookie season, one of which coming against Miami on Nov. 22, 2019.
Over a year later on Dec. 19, 2020, Strus signed a two-way deal with the Heat and was yielded one of the team’s final roster spots entering the season. Since there was no Sioux Falls Skyforce G-League season, Strus spent the entire 2020-21 campaign with Miami and appeared in 39 games. With COVID-19 absences and injuries, Strus and Miami’s other two-way representative Gabe Vincent were heavily relied upon in the rotation at times.
Numbers to note:
1.87 - Strus was Miami’s most effective cutter this year. He generated 1.87 points per possession on his cuts, 0.26 more points than the next-best player (Duncan Robinson - 1.61). It’s the fourth-best mark in the Association — trailing Damian Jones (1.90), Cam Reddish (1.91) and Gary Harris (1.93).
Though Strus and Robinson have different play styles — Strus’ shot isn’t as deadly and doesn’t attract the same gravity — his offensive role on the floor is similar with added athleticism and defensive ability.
Feb. 11 vs. Houston Rockets
Strus tallied a career-high 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. It marked the first 20-point performance of his career (he finished with two on the season).
Strus will be a restricted free agent with a minimal cap hold. If Miami were to use its two-way contracts elsewhere, Strus could earn a minimum deal to fill out its 15-man roster.
Miami has continuously found under-the-rug players in its system that were capable of rotation spots: Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Robinson are recent examples that come to mind. Strus is another example of that. He’s a capable defender and shot maker, despite his moderate 33.1 3-point percentage. If, hypothetically, Robinson were to depart this offseason, Strus could receive heavy rotation minutes predicating on other roster changes.