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Chicago Bulls sign local product Max Strus to two-way contract

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Strus played at DePaul

DePaul v St John’s Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Strus is loose in Chicago.

If that doesn’t mean anything to you as a Bulls fan, it will soon.

Today, the Chicago Bulls announced they have signed Chicago area native and DePaul University graduate Max Strus to a two-way contract. Strus will now split time between the Chicago Bulls and their G League affiliate Windy City Bulls and can spend up to 45 days on the NBA roster.

Bulls General Manager Gar Forman was at Wintrust Arena on March 3 to watch Strus drop 43 points against St. John’s in a win.

Strus joins Adam Mokoka as the Bulls second two-way player for the 2019-2020 season.

The 6-foot-6-inch wing went undrafted this summer before joining the Boston Celtics summer league roster and eventually signing with the team as a two-way player. The Celtics then signed Strus to an NBA contract which was a procedural measure to free up a two-way roster spot for Tacko Fall. Strus was then thrust into a competition for the 15th roster spot with Javonte Green. He lost that competition and was waived by the Celtics over the weekend.

I covered the DePaul Blue Demons so I had front-row seats on press row for 40+ Max Strus games. Here are some things you should know about Strus.

Competitive Edge:

Competitiveness is hard to quantify and anybody who makes it to this level in any sport is going to be much more competitive than the average person.

But in a league of manically competitive people, Strus is right up there with anybody which should help endear him to Bulls fans.

At DePaul, the competitive spirit manifested in his effort on both ends of the floor. He led DePaul in usage percentage in both his seasons, while still averaging more than 35 minutes per game in both seasons (top five in the Big East in minutes per game in both seasons). Yet, he never took plays off on either end and missed just one game during his DePaul career.

Also, all he cares about is winning. This is after a 27-point performance against Butler in 2018.

Lethal Shooter When He’s In a Rhythm:

When it rained it poured with Strus.

On 11 occasions last season, he drained five or more 3-point field goals in a game.

The raw 3-point shooting percentages don’t pop out———35 percent for his career. But the volume he shoots it at (over eight 3-point attempts per game), his quick release, and his ability to get a shot off while on the run bode well for this skill to translate over to the NBA level. So far, it has as he is 5-for-11 from 3-point land (45.5 percent) in four preseason games.

He was streaky in college, but when he got going from deep he looked like a top 30 or 40 talent.

As the best player on his team in college, DePaul head coach Dave Leitao ran a lot of plays for Strus where he would curl off of multiple screens and get freed up for a 3-point shot. The Bulls will probably not be running plays for him at least initially, so the normal growing pains of figuring out your role in a new offense where you aren’t close to being the star applies for Strus.

Athletic

Max Strus isn’t a one-trick, shooting pony.

“I don’t really picture myself as a shooter, I think I’m a lot more than that.”

He can hold his own in the athleticism department as well and he’s fearless attacking the basket.

He May Get Minutes Initially

The Bulls have Otto Porter Jr. on the wing and then not much else.

Chicago had a dress rehearsal for the regular season with the 10-man rotation they utilized in the preseason finale against the Atlanta Hawks last week. Denzel Valentine wasn’t in it. Chandler Hutchison is hampered by a hamstring issue and doesn’t have a timetable to return yet. Porter Jr. himself is on a minutes limit.

Sure, the Bulls can play three-guard lineups but there may still be opportunities for head coach Jim Boylen to mess around with lineups where Strus is at the three.