The Miami Heat have returned 13 players from last year’s roster, forcing Erik Spoelstra to remix his rotations.
Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin jumped into the starting lineup, moving Max Strus back to the Heat bench. Strus appeared and started all 18 of Miami’s playoff games last season.
Despite his reserve role on a reconfigured Spoelstra bench, the small forward’s head is high.
“I think what I do kind of fits in with any lineup,” Strus said per the Sun Sentinel. “So it’s not really hard to adjust to playing a certain way. I think that’s one of my strengths, is just kind of get in where you fit in – I’m just trying to do a good job of that and letting our main guys do their thing and provide spacing. And when I’m open, shoot the ball.”
Given Miami’s legendary organizational culture, it’s no surprise that Strus is embracing his new role and focusing on doing what he can to help his team win. In Miami’s season opener against the Chicago Bulls, Strus scored 22 points, including 5-7 on three-pointers, and grabbed seven rebounds, gobbling up 50 percent of the bench’s total boards.
With new rotations and different players on the floor together, the Heat are playing smaller. When Strus plays power forward, he wants to focus on rebounding.
“There’s going to be smaller guys down there that are going to have to rebound. We need our guards to step up and rebound — I’m capable of doing that. So I’m more than willing to get down there and bang with the bigs and help out on the boards.”
In addition to lasering in on his rebounding this season, Strus believes he is in the best shape of his career.
Ahead of training camp, he said, “I’m the lightest I’ve ever been and probably the strongest I’ve been. I’m probably like eight pounds lighter, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is a lot. I’m more lean mass. So that was my plan. And I think it’s going to help me be more explosive and less wear and tear on my body.”
Strus looks to once again shine in his new role as the Heat host the Boston Celtics tonight.