Max Strus acknowledges Bam Adebayo, but says Jarrett Allen ‘probably the best’ at protecting the rim

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Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers sharpshooter Max Strus had some major praise for big man Jarrett Allen and his rim protection.

Strus, who played with Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo over the last few seasons, believes that Allen is “probably” the best rim protector in the NBA. He discussed how he will be helped defensively by playing with both Allen and Evan Mobley in Cleveland.

“It makes my job easy,” Strus said of playing with Allen and Mobley. “With guys like that at the rim – protecting the rim like that – it just makes it easier to guard on the perimeter. You can pressure the ball more. You can force guys off the line. Just to force them into, probably the best rim protector in the league – if not two of them. Having guys like that is a huge – just a huge addition that I haven’t been used to. Bam’s phenomenal at it as well, but J.A. is probably the best in the league at protecting the rim.”

Allen averages 1.3 blocks per game for his career, and last season with the Cavs, he put up 1.2 blocks per game. That certainly helps free up the Cavs’ perimeter defenders to play aggressively and force players to drive into Allen.

Adebayo is also a great defensive player, but he doesn’t possess the shot-blocking skill that Allen has. Adebayo averaged 0.8 blocks per game last season, and he’s only averaged more than 1.0 block per game one time in his NBA career.

The Cavs have two elite defenders on the inside in Allen and Mobley, and Mobley was actually a finalist for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award last season. The young big man averaged 1.5 blocks per game and led the NBA in defensive win shares.

Having two elite defenders down low allows the Cavs to also rotate their bigs when necessary. That way, the defense can almost always have a rim protector on the floor. That should be very helpful to Strus, Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and other perimeter players this season.

The Cavs are hoping that Strus can help them on both ends of the floor in the 2023-24 season, but the wing’s biggest strength is his ability to shoot the ball from deep.

Strus is a career 37.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc and played a big role for Miami the last two seasons, averaging 26.1 minutes per game.

During the 2022-23 season, the former undrafted free agent averaged 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 41.0 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc. In the 2021-22 season, Strus shot 41.0 percent from beyond the arc.

If Strus can shoot the ball at a high level and play solid perimeter defense, he should be a great addition to the Cavs this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.