The Miami Heat have a rare talent of turning players that are relative unknowns into household names across the league.
One player who seems to be on his way to accomplishing that feat is small forward Max Strus. Strus entered the league as an undrafted free agent. He played in two games in his first NBA season, 39 games in his second season and 68 games in his third year.
He started in 16 of those 68 appearances during the 2021-22 NBA regular season. He then went on to start in all 18 of the Heat’s games in the 2022 NBA Playoffs. For that reason specifically, Strus clearly feels that he has arrived in the NBA.
“I’m established now,” Strus told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “I believe I’m an established NBA player. I started every game in the playoffs, in the Eastern Conference finals, and I think I’m here to stay now. Last year, I don’t think anybody — first day I walked into summer league, I don’t think anybody knew who I was or knew my name. By the time I left summer league, I think people did, and now they for sure know who I am.”
It’s got to be a great feeling for Strus to see so much personal growth in his NBA career. While he clearly comes off as a confident young man, there is also a lot of humility in his statement. That isn’t much of a surprise considering the fact that he is coming up within the Heat organization.
Now that he’s started in 18 playoff games, it will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets in the 2022-23 season. He’s under contract with the Heat for one more season, and he will surely look to prove that he not only belongs in the NBA, but also deserves a multiyear contract.
Whether or not Miami is the team to offer Strus such a contract remains to be seen.