Max Strus and Tyler Herro are going to be the two youthful pieces off the bench this season for Miami, but that isn’t the only comparison those two draw. Even without the experience compared to those around them, both of them ooze confidence in similar ways.
I talked to Max Strus for a bit after practice, where he discussed some things heading into the season opener this Thursday.
When I asked him about being that run igniter and offensive spark most nights for this team, he responded, “If I’m open, I’m gonna shoot every time. I have the confidence in myself, my teammates have the confidence to put me in those situations to shoot and score.”
“But I’m still trying to find my role with everything,” he continued. “And obviously the second unit is to get Tyler going and just for me to provide spacing for him. But any open shot I’m gonna take.”
Relating Strus’ situation to Duncan Robinson over and over can get a bit old, but the early stages definitely are similar. Robinson jumped into a starting lineup, while opposing defenses didn’t even know his name. Fast forward to today, it’s a completely different story.
When I asked Strus if he’s being defended any differently from his minutes last season to this preseason, he said, “People kind of know who I am now. You can tell when I’m running down the court other defenders are yelling ‘find Strus, find Strus.’ So yeah you can definitely tell that teams are starting to find out what I do and what I’m good at. So I’m definitely getting guarded a little bit differently, not as bad as Duncan yet, but we’ll see if it gets there.”
One thing about this team is that it’s a very vocal group. They’re loud on the floor, they’re loud with each other, and that trait definitely fits the Miami Heat way.
I asked Strus if he notices these practices being louder than they were previously, and if he fits that mold of holding others accountable and being in each other’s ear constantly. He responded, “I want to win. We all want to win. So communication, putting each other in the best situation possible to be successful is what we all want to do. Having guys like that who are here to help, here to make you better is right where I want to be.”
Lastly, a lot of these guys have their circle of players in the league that they watch film on to try and learn from or pick-up specific skills. When I asked Strus who those guys are, he said, “I’ve watched a lot of Klay Thompson.”
He also mentioned Joe Harris is somebody he’s honed in on, saying “I’ve gotten Joe Harris a lot, and I’ve gotten to know him pretty well too.”
The interesting thing about Strus focusing on these guys is that it’s not all about shooting when evaluating them: “Defensively, like Klay Thompson was an elite defender, so trying to learn from him. Just where to be in the right spots, and Joe Harris is actually a pretty good defender too. So those guys are great all-around players, so I’m just trying go through them and watch and learn from them.”
Max Strus is going to be in a pretty favorable role this season. Weak-side offensive spotting, waiting for the multiple initiators on the floor to hit him in his spots, and ultimately being that spark that he knows he can be on this team.
“People kinda know who I am now.” Yes, they do. And that X on his back is only going to grow this season.
Yet, he’s somehow ready for whatever is thrown at him, since he “wants to win. We all want to win.”