(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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I love when an NBA player is really good, and most casual fans don’t know his name yet. It’s like when you discover a cool band before your friends.
This year, during the postseason, that guy is Miami’s Max Strus. The former DePaul standout went undrafted in 2019, but he has worked his way into an integral role for the Heat. Miami was 14-2 in games with Strus as a starter in 2021-22. Strus was 41.0% on 3-pointers in the regular season, often replacing the minutes previously given to Duncan Robinson.
Strus has started each game he has played for the Heat in the postseason, and he had 19 points and 10 rebounds in his most recent game. He has found a role as a spot-up shooter and floor spacer, and he is one of the best at using off-ball screens and handoffs to score. It is awesome to see his success.
Most exciting for Strus: He becomes a free agent at the end of next season. If he continues playing as well as he has of late, the 6-foot-6 wing should see a hefty raise on his current contract’s $1.7 million average annual value.
Our own Charles Curtis offered his thoughts on what happened:
“You can only imagine the sports show talking heads getting ready to rip Draymond Green for his antics during Game 5 of the Golden State Warriors’ playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
How dare he dance as the Dubs get drubbed! Where’s the intensity? Michael Jordan would never!
But that’s not the approach here. No, Dray dancing to Whoop That Trick — the song that Grizzlies fans have adopted — is totally fine, especially in light of what Steph Curry said before Game 5. In a way, they’re both respecting Memphis fans!”
In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea for Curry to invoke the song’s name before the game.
One to Watch
76ers(-2.5, -140) vs. Heat (+115), O/U 206.5, 7:00 PM ET
(All odds via Tipico.)
This series has shown how much home court advantage matters, and I’m fairly sure that’s why the oddsmakers have Philadelphia favorited in Game 6 at Wells Fargo Center.
Miami (3-2) leads the series and could close it out tonight, but I’m picking Philly to take this into a Game 7.
Who’s in and out?
— Heat: Kyle Lowry (hamstring) is out and PJ Tucker (calf), Gabe Vincent (knee), Max Strus (hamstring), Caleb Martin (ankle), and Tyler Herro (ankle) are all probable vs. Philly
— 76ers: Mattise Thybile (foot) is questionable and Joel Embiid (face) is probable vs. Miami
— Mavericks: Reggie Bullock (knee) is probable against the Suns
— Suns: Joe Crowder (shoulder) is probable against Dallas
— Top free agency destinations for Tyus Jones if he leaves the Grizzlies this offseason
— The NBA has new Conference Finals MVP trophies and, no, that’s not a weird thing
— Heat’s Jimmy Butler opens up on friendship with Sixers star Joel Embiid
— HoopsHype compiled all the MVP votes of NBA legends
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