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Phoenix Suns have a high-five tracker

While modern programs are tracking more and more advanced stats, the Phoenix Suns plan to incorporate a very simple one into their nightly contests — high fives.

The team is taking team chemistry so seriously this year, that they’ve made a point to track how often players congratulate each other on the court or acknowledge each other’s intentions when it comes to miscommunication.

“We have a high-five stat,” head coach Earl Watson said, via the team’s 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.”

If this sounds like it’s going a bit over the top, UC Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner followed one game per each NBA team last season — tracking all sorts of physical acknowledgement between players. He believes there’s a direct correlation between team camaraderie and success.

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

The Suns are looking to improve from a dismal 23-win season in 2015-16, so if there’s a place to start, maybe it is team chemistry. We’ll judge the results come All-Star break, and if there’s indeed a major improvement, expect other teams to soon follow suit.

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