Phoenix Suns tracking team’s high-fives this year (because winning teams do it more)


Back in 2010, a study was done that found a correlation between how much teams high-fived and how much they won (other congratulatory contacts were counted, too). For the most part, the more high-fives, the better the team.

One of the authors of that first study took it another step last year and in a study of high-fives on teams — accounting for likelihood of winning and other factors — and it found teams that high-fived more not only tended to win more, they tended to be the teams that shared the ball more on offense, set more screens, helped more on defense and generally played better team ball.

You can add high-five tracking to the advanced stats the Suns are keeping this season. From Cody Cunningham of (hat tip Dan DeVine at Ball Don’t Lie).

“We have a high-five stat,” Head Coach Earl Watson said following the 91-86 victory. “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.”

This, of course, aligns with Watson’s philosophy of preaching trust, family and selflessness to his team. When asked about Dudley and Chandler’s morale-boosting high-fives on Monday, the first-year coach said “I’ll let them know you said they led the team in high-fives.”

I assume Dean Oliver is not adding high-fives to his four factors.

Obviously, the increase in high-fives is not causing teams to play better, it’s more a byproduct of better chemistry on a squad. That said, if tracking the high-fives can provide a little insight into which players are more comfortable and play better with each other, why not?