NBA: Suns keep track of high-fives to measure team camaraderie | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Suns keep track of high-fives to measure team camaraderie

/ 03:39 PM October 06, 2016
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Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker is interviewed by teammate Tyler Ulis (8) for a local television station Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, during the NBA team’s media day in Phoenix.  (AP Photo/Matt York)

Seems like every single statistic can be tracked with the league’s advanced analytics nowadays, and the Phoenix Suns is elevating it up a notch by introducing a “high-five” meter.

The Arizona-based team is reportedly high on the team’s chemistry this season so that head coach Earl Watson is keeping count of the player’s propensity to commend each other through the popular hand gesture.

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“We have a high-five stat,” Watson revealed through the team’s official website.  “I’m being honest with you. This is true. So we want to keep track of how many high-fives we get per game to each other.”

The over-the-top count may sound absurd to most fans, but Watson suggests there’s actual science behind the theory.

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In 2015, Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the University of California in Berkely, USA, kept track all of the fist bumps, embraces and daps on one game of every NBA team at the start of the season. His study suggests a direct correlation between camaraderie and team success.

“Controlling for how much money they’re making, the expectations that they would do well during that season, how well they were doing in that game,” Keltner’s findings said. “Not only did they win more games but there’s really nice basketball statistics of how selfless the play is.”

The scholar also found out that teams that made more contact with each other eventually helped out more defensively and were documented to set more screens for one another. Players who were fond of each other played more efficiently and cooperatively.

The youth-laden Suns posted a dismal 23-59 win-loss record last year, and could benefit from whatever boost they could get this coming season.  Khristian Ibarrola

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TAGS: advanced analytics, camaraderie, Earl Watson, high-five, NBA, Phoenix Suns, study
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