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From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: Max Strus' NBA journey is a lesson for everyone

Max Strus' journey is a lesson for any player and team in the NBA
From being undrafted to a Playoff starter: The journey of Miami Heat guard Max Strus for everyone

Max Straus vs. Boston Celtics

In Game 3, their most crucial game of the season, with 2:15 minutes to go, Miami Heat guard Max Strus hit the biggest shot of the game and his career that saved his team from going down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. This shot not only helped his team salvage the lead they had been building all game, but it was also a form of validation for Strus, a player who was once considered a reject by the Boston Celtics.

Against the Celtics in this series, Strus is averaging 8.5 points, 2.0 assists, and 4.5 rebounds a game and was in the starting lineup twice in the past two games. If you've watched Heat basketball for quite some time now, you would know that Strus' contributions go past the box score as he's been one of the team's best on-ball defenders, floor spacers, and transition players.

It's time to give Strus his flowers.

Strus' NBA journey hasn't been easy at all. He went from being an undrafted rookie to a starter in the most critical Playoff game of his career. In 2019, Strus didn't receive an invite to participate in the Draft Combine, which led him not to be selected by any team in the Draft.

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Only the Celtics gave him a shot in 2019 by signing him to a two-way contract, but that did not last long as they eventually decided to let him go even if he didn't play a single game for them.

Then, in the same year, Strus was signed to another two-way contract by the Chicago Bulls, where he averaged just 2.5 points a game in 2 games. His stint with the Bulls was cut short due to an ACL injury he suffered in December 2019, which led the Bulls to waive him.

After a year of recovery, it was only the Heat who decided to gamble on Strus, and safe to say that ended up paying dividends.

The Strus is loose

Strus' two-way contract ended up being guaranteed by the Heat to a two-year, 3.5 million dollar deal. This is a massive bargain for Miami, especially with the production he's given them this season.

Strus averaged 10.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game in the regular season. He also shot 41.0% from the 3-point area and 55.7% from the field in 68 games and 16 starts. For context, this is similar to what guys like Alex Caruso, Garry Payton II, and even Cam Payne provide for their teams.

Strus' journey is a lesson for any player and team in the NBA. It's a depiction of never giving up on your dreams despite all the hurdles that come your way. As for any team, it's important to scout hungry and determined players like Strus, who now has become a vital player in the Playoffs. 

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