Friday night, Heat guard Max Strus put on a show in Miami. In 22 minutes of action, he put up 22 points including six threes. Saturday morning, his contract was converted by the Miami Heat to a two-way contract.
Strus joined the Miami Heat on a camp deal at the start of the December. This allowed him to train, practice, and play in preseason games for the Heat. There was no guarantee he would make the team but a strong performance in camp could likely earn him a two-way deal.
Preseason was rather short from years past as it was only about three weeks long. Some teams played up to 4 preseason games while the Heat played just two.
They opened the season this past Monday and took a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, 114-92. Strus came off the bench in that game. He struggled early and at half was 1 for 5 with 2 points. Heat fans everywhere were angry and confused at why he was seeing so much time.
He stepped it up the fourth quarter, finishing the game with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists in 24 minutes. He lead the Heat in rebounds and offensive rebounds (3) that night. Some of those Heat fans’ nerves were calmed but they were looking for more from Strus. This was Strus’ first game in over a year since his ACL injury.
Friday night was Strus’ final audition to make the team. And it quickly became a no doubt he’ll make the team situation.
Strus finished the night with 22 points, 2 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and no turnovers in just 22 minutes in a 117-105 win over the Toronto Raptors. Fans of the Heat took a complete 180 when discussing what they thought of Max Strus.
Prior to his Friday performance, Heat guard Goran Dragic commented on Strus’ shooting the media. He told them, “Max, he’s a solid, solid basketball player. He can shoot the ball. He’s really strong for his position. I see some good stuff from him.”
Across 2 preseason games, Strus averaged 16.5 points on 50 percent shooting which includes 47.4 from three as well as 5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. The Heat saw enough and on Saturday morning gave him a two-way deal for the season.
The team will not be fielding their G-League team, this season. Although the Sioux Falls Skyforce won’t be in action, Strus can still practice with the Heat all season and be available to play in 50 of the 72 games for the 2020-21 season.
Strus split time with the Chicago Bulls and their G-League affiliate Windy City Bulls during the 2019-2020 season. He played in just two NBA games last season. He total 6:14 minutes of play and notched five points. He went 2-of-3 from the field and knocked down his only free throw. He spent a majority of his season in the G-League until suffering a torn ACL on December 21, 2019. He played 13 games (12 starts) for the Windy City Bulls. He averaged 18.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists in 34.9 minutes while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 96.3 percent from the foul line.
Miami Heat begin their season on Wednesday, December 23 at 7:00 PM ET against Orland Magic at the Amway Center.