Erik Spoelstra: 'It's a Joke' Jimmy Butler Won't Start 2020 NBA All-Star Game

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2020

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) shoots during an NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

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:

Former NBA All-Star and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley also argued Butler should have been among the starters:

TurnerSportsPR @TurnerSportsPR

Charles Barkley makes the case for why @JimmyButler was snubbed from the East's #NBAAllStar Starters https://t.co/wL782VxtmZ

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.