The NBA revealed the starters for its upcoming All-Star game on Thursday, though Jimmy Butler was left off the list in the Eastern Conference.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t appreciate the snub.
“Either way, regardless of how you want to label it or discuss it, Jimmy Butler should be a starter in this All-Star game,” Spoelstra said, via the Miami Herald. “It’s a joke that he’s not.”
Starting lineups for the game are set up by position, with two guards and three frontcourt players earning the five spots after fan, player and media votes are taken into account. Kemba Walker and Trae Young were named the two starting guards for the Eastern Conference, with Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam and Giannis Antetokounmpo rounded out the frontcourt. Antetokounmpo was named team captain.
Butler, who considered a frontcourt player, finished fourth in the final voting among frontcourt players.
Butler has averaged 20.3 points, seven rebounds and 6.5 assists so far this season in Miami while leading the Heat to an impressive 31-13 start — the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Undoubtedly, the four-time All-Star has done enough this season to earn a fifth trip. And, in reality, he likely will. The NBA will reveal the reserve players for the game later this month.
Spoelstra’s issue with Butler’s snub, however, comes with how the system is set up. Traditional “positions” in the NBA simply aren’t used like they once were.
“I wasn’t from the standpoint that I’m so confused by it,” Spoelstra said, via the Miami Herald. “I just think it’s ridiculous that we’re still in this antiquated ‘positions,’ so who’s to say what position Jimmy is. I put him No. 2 on my card, so I go Kendrick Nunn, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, I go Bam [Adebayo] and then Meyers [Leonard]. But you could flip any one of those guys around. In many ways he’s our point guard, so should he be in the All-Star Game as a point guard? I don’t know.”
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