Miami Heat guard Max Strus knows being a player on a two-way contract can lead to some doubts. 

In a recent interview on the Five On The Floor podcast, Strus said his relationship with Jimmy Butler last season helped make him for comfortable and confident. 

“I played one on one with Jimmy [Butler] before every game,” said Strus. “That’s like his thing – he likes to play one on one. It would be me, him and Udonis Haslem. We would just get Jimmy reps. Whatever he needed, we were there. Play defense. Whatever he wanted. So I think being there every day, and whatever he needed to get his mind going for the game or just get ready. I was always there to help him. So I think that had something do with it."

Strus, who went undrafted out of DePaul in 2019, is considered the Heat's next developmental project. They've had recent success with Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside. The fact Butler latched on with Strus should boost his confidence. When Tyler Herro was a rookie in 2019, Butler offered the same guidance during the season and offseason. 

"Jimmy likes people who play hard and have a chip on their shoulder and just want to win," Strus said. "So as much as he was going at me, I was going right back at him. So I think that might have gained a little trust and a little respect there just to not back down to anybody in that situation. So I think that definitely had something to do with it.”

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