This offseason was one where the Cleveland Cavaliers had to improve their shooting, and bring in more playable depth.
Cleveland’s most notable additions came by way of signing Georges Niang and acquiring Max Strus via sign-and-trade from the Miami Heat. The Cavs bringing back Caris LeVert and adding Ty Jerome could prove to be quality moves for the rotation as well, also.
Make no mistake, though, Cleveland needs the aforementioned Strus and Niang to be knockdown shooters for their group. That applies to both, but even more so Strus.
Strus’ three-point shooting is going to be his calling card, or at least that’s the expectation, at volume.
Granted, he was not quite as on the money last season for Miami, as his deep shooting clip was 35.0 percent, as compared to that being 41.0 percent in 2021-22. Still, given the nature of Strus’ attempts, and the off-ball impact he has, he at least could have his share of production looking onward for Cleveland.
To that point, in a recent piece, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley emphasized how Strus is clearly Cleveland’s best “new weapon.” Buckley did so for each NBA squad, and this was another reminder of how Cleveland is betting on Strus to make his presence felt in coming years in a big way.
The Cavs are going to have Strus firing away, and hopefully, that pays dividends for the overall group.
Strus was signed to a four-year, $62.3 million deal by the Cavs, which reinforced how they’ve been prioritizing shooting this offseason.
He made 197 deep balls last season for the Heat, and the Cavaliers are hoping he’ll provide a notable shooting lift for them moving forward. It might not be a bargain deal in the short term, but if he can be a significant impact contributor as a catch-and-shoot player, that deal could be very reasonable, with future cap in mind.
Strus was brought in to open up room for the Cavaliers’ top options Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, and off the ball, his gravity helps with movement.
He’s assuredly not a player opposing defenses can leave open to rotate to drivers, however, Cleveland could really benefit from his ability to hit looks off handoffs, coming off pin downs and flares. Strus can cash deep balls as an active shooter in transition for teammates to go to as well, for what it’s worth.
It’s not a direct comparison, per se, but with his multifaceted shooting skill set, Strus could be Kyle Korver-esque for this iteration of the Cavaliers, the way Korver was in LeBron James’ second stint with Cleveland. Strus should be a prime target for a variety of feeds from Garland, Mitchell, Caris LeVert and feasibly Mobley from here, and the Cavaliers coaching staff has to maximize Strus.
It could take some time for Strus to get going and be acclimated to the Cavaliers, which is pretty natural, given the circumstances, and Cleveland having its offensive hierarchy.
That said, Strus’ play style should lend itself to meshing well within the Cavs’ framework, and playing off of Cleveland’s slashers and bigs, Strus should be able to get rolling.
He’ll have to prove it, and the Cavaliers will have to iron out things in the rotation, but one can clearly understand the Strus move.