We're in an age where sports fans want to quantify everything that once was an "intangible" in sports, so it's not a huge surprise that there's a study out there that tried to measure team chemistry. One way to do that is to see how often teams are giving each other high-fives, because a high-five is the kind of thing teams with good team chemistry do even though it's an incredibly goofy act.
The Wall Street Journal did just that for the first three games of the 2011 NBA Finals. A comprehensive study of the number of times players on either the Dallas Mavericks or Miami Heat engaged in any sort of physical contact with each other on camera revealed that the Mavericks can't really keep their hands off each other.
The Mavericks, with 250 slaps, hugs, taps or bumps, are almost twice as touchy-feely as the Heat, who had only 134 instances of televised contact. In those three games, the Mavericks were 82% more likely to high five.
Tyson Chandler is apparently the ringleader of this effort, collecting 90 high-fives. Dirk Nowitzki was right behind him with 88, which makes sense because Nowitzki often makes big plays, and human beings like to show each other affection after they succeed in a big moment. This ends up being the problem with the premise of the study, of course, since it's impossible to determine the chicken or the egg in this scenario. Are teams good because they show affection towards each other, or do they show affection towards each other because they are good?
Regardless of your answer, we can at least acknowledge the incredible high-five productivity of one Heat reserve.
But the touchiest Miami player might be veteran forward Juwan Howard, who averaged 38 high fives per 48 minutes, good for the highest rate on the Heat.
Juwan Howard: the Paul Millsap of high-fives.