Who says good ole fashioned team chemistry can't be evidenced in plain sight? If a recent study on "touchiness" is to be believed, then NBA players giving love taps at the charity stripe really does mean something:â†µ
In a paper due out this year in the journal Emotion, Mr. Kraus and his co-authors, Cassy Huang and Dr. Keltner, report that with a few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch-bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, currently two of the league's top teams; at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats.â†µ
The same was true, more or less, for players. The touchiest player was Kevin Garnett, the Celtics' star big man, followed by star forwards Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors and Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz. "Within 600 milliseconds of shooting a free throw, Garnett has reached out and touched four guys," Dr. Keltner said.â†µ
The Kings aren't very touchy, eh? Based off of this analysis, if there was any doubt as to why Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin couldn't share a backcourt together, we now have definitive proof. Statistics be damned; if Martin and 'Reke had exchanged slick high fives and swagger-building chest bumps more often, perhaps a dynamic duo could have unfolded, and Speed Racer's career in Sacramento could have been salvaged.â†µ
In the meantime, expect highlight reels to switch their focus from clutch shots and slam dunks to pre-game huddles and fist pounds. But don't worry, there will still be Kobe Bryant. There will always be room for Kobe Bryant.