Max Strus a Stealth Pickup for the Boston Celtics

Max Strus picked up by the Boston Celtics
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 16: DePaul Blue Demons guard Max Strus (31) looks to the sidelines during the men's college basketball game between the Butler Bulldogs and DePaul Blue Demons on February 16, 2019, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

While the newest Boston Celtics’ wing Max Strus (who attended college at DePaul) did not hear his name called at the NBA Draft, the undrafted free agent could prove to be a viable and stealth pickup for the franchise.

Shortly after the draft completed, Strus signed a two-way contract with the Celtics. While he will probably spend most of his time with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League, there is a chance Strus could make an impact with Boston when he gets his name called.

Under the Radar Move by the Boston Celtics

Max Strus Credentials

Strus—who was named to the all-Big East Second team this season after averaging 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.9 steals per game—can be best described as an explosive scorer. Granted, he can be inefficient. Strus shot 42 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range in his two years with the Blue Demons. However, when Strus gets going there’s almost no stopping him.

In fact, when Strus was warming up, DePaul fans would often flock to Twitter to proclaim “the Strus is Loose.”

Strus made his debut in the summer league on Monday. He scored five points (including a three-pointer) in 15 minutes off the bench in the Celtics game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He again was inefficient, shooting just 1-6 from the field. However, he did have the third-highest plus-minus of the night with his +10 mark.

What Strus Brings To The Table

Strus simply gets buckets in bunches and when he is dialed in. He just takes his game to another level. He is great coming off screens and quickly getting off his shot.

Strus is also a great rebounder for his size and can find the open man when necessary.

He scored 43 points against St. John’s in March (on 14-22 shooting, 6-10 from three-point range). With 36 of those points coming in the second half. He also had a great game against Georgetown. He scored 30 points (9-20 from the field, 8-13 from three-point territory) in a rout of the Hoyas.

While Strus starred at DePaul, he did not begin his journey there.

He started his career at Lewis — a Division II squad in Illinois— and had an All-American stint in his two years there.

For another reminder of his powder-keg ability to explode, he had his best ever game while at Lewis when he scored 52 points in one game, while connecting on 12-for-14 three-point attempts.

Before ever playing a game for the Blue Demons, Strus always believed in his ability to compete at the highest level. He drew inspiration from the path fellow Division II star Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs experienced while White was a star guard at Colorado Springs before transferring to Colorado.

From WeAreDePaul.com:

Strus said he drew inspiration from how White acquitted himself on the Division I level.

“Hopefully that’s the plan (to have an impact like White),” Strus said. “That’s the goal, but I’m just looking forward to playing basketball and whatever happens, happens.”

Strus is not just a shooter, as he possesses above-average athleticism and can get to the rim at will. He was known for many nasty dunks in the lane. His ability to stretch the floor, attack the rim, and go all-out on every play has some comparing him to a poor man’s Wally Szczerbiak.

How Strus Fits in With the Celtics

While he won’t challenge the likes of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum for minutes, Strus is a decent insurance policy— especially with the Celtics still rostering Gordon Hayward.

If Hayward gets hurt, and really, Hayward has not been the same since his gruesome ankle injury nearly two years ago, Strus will likely be up in Boston. Moreover, rumors have circulated on Twitter that the Celtics are shopping Hayward and if that comes to fruition, Strus will have a more expedient path to the NBA.

While the wings on the Celtics roster all have their strengths, none really have the shooting skills that Strus possesses. While Strus doesn’t figure to be a star in the NBA, he can at least carve out a role that players like Kyle Korver, J.J. Redick, and Marco Belinelli have established in their tenure in the NBA.

Strus is a competitor through and through. He was very instrumental in helping DePaul achieve its first winning record in 12 years this past season. Strus’ leadership and intangibles will certainly endear himself to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

For the journey that Strus has been on, he is just thankful for the opportunity in front of him.

“To be in this position is everything I could have asked for,” he said (via MassLive.com). “I dreamed of being at this level. Going D-II, I didn’t think I would ever be here, and nobody in my family did, but I worked my tail off, got to this point, and I’m going to keep doing that and keep seeing where that gets me.”

For the flier Boston took on him, Strus very well could prove to be a steal.

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Dan Stack has been writing and reporting about sports since 2003, but has been dabbling in journalism ever since his days when writing for his college newspaper, The Pioneer (LIU C.W. Post) back in 1995. He comes to Last Word on Sports after having previously worked at FanRag Sports where he was a college basketball analyst, as well as lead recruiting analyst for both college football and basketball. Stack also worked at BleacherReport.com (where he wrote about fantasy football and college basketball, while amassing over one million page views), Fanball.com (he ran a blog for the Pittsburgh Steelers-SteelersMill.com), FantasyPros911.com (wrote about fantasy football and baseball), SNYGiants.com (New York Giants coverage), NYGiantsRush.com, Mets360.com (Mets baseball coverage), CollegeHoopsNet.com, RotoWire.com (fantasy baseball beat writer) and Sportsmedia101.com (where he wrote and blogged at Knicks101.com). He is also a senior writer for WeAreDePaul.com, and has written and reported on the DePaul men's basketball program since 2003. He has covered many Big East games on the east coast and has been a regular at the Big East Tournament for more than a decade. Prior to his online sports writing career, Stack was also the Managing Editor of his county's weekly newspaper, the Rockland County Times, from 2007 to 2009. He has a BA degree from C.W. Post with a major in broadcasting and a minor in journalism. At Post, he not only wrote for the school newspaper, but also was a DJ at the school's radio station (WCWP) and was a crew member for Post TV (the University's TV Station). If want to hear rumblings on college basketball, fantasy sports, New York fandom an other random pop culture musings, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Stacdemon

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