The Cleveland Cavaliers have been okay during the 2023-24 season. Entering their Wednesday night battle against the Washington Wizards, they had a 18-15 record; the problem is that, after a 50-win 2022-23 campaign, the team is not content with “okay”. Now, what they must do is to try and remain afloat amid injuries to Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, which has sapped the Cavs of two of its best players.
With Garland and Mobley out, the onus to create offense for the team falls on Donovan Mitchell’s shoulders. That burden, however, may be too heavy for Mitchell to shoulder on his own. It’s up to the rest of the supporting cast, such as Caris LeVert and Max Strus, to help him pick up the slack. Head coach JB Bickerstaff, in fact, implored Strus before their game against the Wizards to stop overthinking and just let it fly from deep.
“He’s open, he needs to shoot the ball. He’s contested, he needs to shoot the ball,” Bickerstaff said, per Tommy Wild of Sports Illustrated.
To Max Strus’ credit, he responded in a huge way; in just 28 minutes of play, the Cavs forward tallied 24 points on 9-13 shooting from the field, and he shot a blistering 6-8 from deep, heeding JB Bickerstaff’s call to just hoist up threes given his caliber as an outside marksman.
Strus was shooting poorly in his past five games prior to his awakening against the Wizards; he was shooting a putrid 31 percent from the field and an even worse 24 percent from deep during that span. For a team without two of its best players, this was not going to cut it. Thus, it was a welcome sight for the Cavs to witness Strus do against the Wizards what he came to the team to do: make threes and make them at a huge volume.
Now, the next step for Max Strus is to achieve some semblance of consistency. The Cavs forward is one of the most streaky shooters in the association, but with the team in need of some offensive punch amid their injury woes, Strus will have to string together a few good games to help keep the Cavs right in the thick of the playoff race.