When the All-Star game starters were announced earlier this week, Heat swingman Jimmy Butler was not among those voted to get the starting nod. Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra took exception to Butler’s snub, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes.
Butler, who was listed as a frontcourt player on All-Star ballots, lost out to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Pascal Siakam for a starting spot. He likely would have had a better shot if he was listed as a guard, where he would’ve been up against starters Kemba Walker and Trae Young.
Spoelstra stressed Butler’s flexibility in the Heat lineup and being able to essentially play all five positions as needed. The Heat coach expressed hope that voting changes in the future to not limit players based on position alone.
“These are such antiquated labels that I feel like we’ve moved on from that years ago when we started talking about positionless [players],” he said. “But either way, regardless of how you want to label it or discuss it, Jimmy Butler should be a starter in this All-Star Game. It’s a joke that he’s not. Hopefully this will change things in the future.”
Butler, 30, is averaging 20.3 PPG along with a career-high 7.0 RPG and 6.5 APG in his first season in South Beach. The four-time All-Star has been a focal point in helping the Heat to a 31-14 record, tied with the defending NBA champion Raptors for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Butler left the Heat’s Friday loss to the Clippers due to a sprained ankle.
“You have to wait until the next day to see how a guy feels,” Spoelstra said.