Max Strus explains what made Jimmy Butler trust him - Heat Nation

Max Strus explains what made Jimmy Butler trust him

Max Strus Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat small forward Max Strus got little playing time this past season, but he was able to gain the trust of his most important teammate.

The Illinois native explained how he did so on a recent episode of the “Five on the Floor” podcast.

“I played one on one with Jimmy [Butler] before every game,” said Strus. “That’s like his thing – he likes to play one on one. It would be me, him and Udonis Haslem. We would just get Jimmy reps. Whatever he needed, we were there. Play defense. Whatever he wanted. So I think being there every day, and whatever he needed to get his mind going for the game or just get ready. I was always there to help him. So I think that had something do with it. In those one-on-one situations, just not backing down. Jimmy likes people who play hard and have a chip on their shoulder and just want to win. So as much as he was going at me, I was going right back at him. So I think that might have gained a little trust and a little respect there just to not back down to anybody in that situation. So I think that definitely had something to do with it.”

Strus went undrafted out of DePaul University in 2019. He spent his rookie season in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls, and he then joined the Heat during the 2020 offseason.

He is one of several undrafted players who have had success with the team recently, a list that includes Duncan Robinson and the recently departed Kendrick Nunn.

It is well-known that Butler is a fire and brimstone type of leader. Leaders like him need teammates to show him they have lots of desire and a strong work ethic in order to earn his trust.

Butler’s presence transformed the Heat from a struggling team to one that once again has a championship-caliber culture.

Clearly, Strus has also earned the trust of the Heat’s front office, as he was signed to a new two-year contract earlier this month.

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