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Year In Review

Presenting The 2022 Shams Charania Award For Excellence In Divulging Of Information Through Syntax Comprehended By Many

The reporter’s task is to convey useful information to the reader in a timely and lucid manner. Defector's task, in presenting this award, is to find the most flagrant possible violations of "useful" and "lucid."

Last year's inaugural Shamsy went to its namesake, who was then operating on a level rarely seen in the history of prose. He's still in his prime, but some of Charania's peers have begun to close the gap, rolling out a range of linguistic and conceptual innovations. The derangement of their writing could be partially attributed to subject matter. The current NBA season has regrettably featured themes that would test even the most sensitive writers—antisemitism and workplace sexual misconduct—let alone guys who lose sleep to receive text messages about Mason Plumlee's next contract.

It was a crowded field, and earlier in December we chose to celebrate the nominees in a livestreamed event, which allowed us to break down the merits of each submission at great length. Let's take a moment to relish them one more time before announcing the winner. Sometimes we were struck by the phrasing of a tweet itself, sometimes by a portion of an article's main text; in each case, the relevant section is presented here.

Marc Stein of Marc Stein's Substack, on the trade deadline:

There has been an undeniable uptick in deals-related phone conversations this week as teams leaguewide edged away from the holidays and a December rife with roster chaos and hundreds of hardship signings.

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on a potential Ben Simmons trade so tough it demanded a new verb:

In scanning the Hawks’ roster, it’s obvious John Collins — who signed a five-year, $125 million deal in restricted free agency last offseason — and Cam Reddish are among the players who could acquiesce a package for Simmons.

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on a Kyrie Irving trade request:

An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace, those sources said.

Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News, on the Supreme Court justice nomination:

Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, on the hiring process for the Houston Texans' head coach:

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on Ben Simmons's back recovery:

Sports Illustrated social team, on a Ben Simmons jumper:

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole fight:

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, on the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole fight:

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on Miles Bridges:

In a league that saw wings such as Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins and Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have game-changing impacts on a run to the NBA Finals, Bridges’ two-way ability on the wing has become incredibly valued toward winning.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, on Ime Udoka's future with the Boston Celtics:

Those investigative findings -- which described verbiage on Udoka's part that was deemed especially concerning coming from a workplace superior -- contribute to what is likely a difficult pathway back to his reinstatement as Celtics coach in 2023, sources told ESPN.

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on Kyrie Irving's talk with Adam Silver:

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on the Brooklyn Nets promoting Jacque Vaughn:

Zachary Silver of, on Adley Rutschman of the Baltimore Orioles (h/t to John):

Shams Charania of The Athletic, on the state of the Brooklyn Nets:

However, ever since the season-ending sweep against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs without Simmons and Joe Harris and a hobbled Seth Curry, underlying issues have persisted throughout these Nets. That festered into the future of Irving and the contract discussions that ended in him deciding to return for next season, and most recently, whether Durant’s evaluation of the franchise could push him away.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, on the state of the Brooklyn Nets:

For everything owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks did to assemble one of the modern NBA's most talented Big 3s, Irving's impenetrable connection to Durant looms as a domino to the dismantling of the roster. Brooklyn is straddling the narrowest of walkways: Keeping conviction on Irving's contract talks and keeping Durant's desire to stay a Net.

During the live event streamed earlier this month, the three judges executed a productive discussion that advanced their collective understanding of the differing techniques employed by these constantly unique stylists, sources close to the event told Defector. As intrigued as we were by Josina Anderson's habit of bending time, "an impasse" that "clears the way," and "deals-related phone conversations," we could not get the following image out of our heads: an impenetrable connection that looms as a domino to the dismantling, while one straddles the narrowest of walkways. Congratulations to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski for his sympathetically discombobulated reporting on a discombobulated Brooklyn Nets team. In the 2022 Shamsy race, the master upset the apprentice. Nominations for the 2023 Shamsy can be sent to as they emerge.

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