Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday "it's a joke" Heat forward Jimmy Butler wasn't selected as a starter for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, and he believes the snub should help spur a change to positionless lineups.
"These are such antiquated labels," Spoelstra told reporters.
Here's a look at the Eastern Conference choices, which were based on a format with two guards and three frontcourt players:
- G: Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
- G: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
- F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
- F: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
- C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Former NBA All-Star and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley also argued Butler should have been among the starters:
Butler is averaging 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 38 appearances.
Spoelstra's defense of his player was no surprise, and his point about a positionless starting group makes sense. With the NBA trending more toward small-ball lineups with the decreased use of traditional post players, rewarding the top players regardless of position may be the way to go.
Butler should be among the reserves announced Thursday ahead of the draft led by captains Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, which is set for Feb. 6.
The 2020 All-Star Game will take place Feb. 16 at the United Center in Chicago.