Why are the Pistons starters so bad at the start?

Jalen Duren #0 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Jalen Duren #0 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons always seem to be rallying from behind due to slow starts. It would nice if they would actually take command of a game from the beginning.

It’s great the Pistons have a ‘never say die’ attitude and hustle to rally from a deficit, no matter how big. But it would be a good change of pace to actually play with the lead.

Sunday’s game with the Los Angeles Lakers had a familiar start _ bad. LeBron & (not very good besides Anthony Davis) Company bolted out to an 18-5 lead. Yes, Detroit rallied to make the game competitive – as they always do.

But why do the Pistons have to start every game getting the bejeebers kicked out of them?

Here are their biggest first period deficits in Detroit’s past five games:

Lakers: Trailed by 13

Grizzlies: Trailed by 11

Pelicans: Trailed by 2 (outscored 15-6  after taking 7-0 lead)

Heat: Trailed by 11 (a game they would win by 20!)

Grizzlies: Trailed by 12

It is not fun for Pistons fans to turn on a game in hopefulness, only to watch them get pummeled at the start.

Coach Dwane Casey has tried to switch things up a bit, putting rookie Jalen Duren in the starting lineup starting with the second Grizzlies game, in place of a struggling Marvin Bagley III. But the trend of poor starts has continued unabated.

Related Story. Why the Detroit Pistons were better missing a lot of starters. light

Credit the Pistons for not hanging their heads. All five games were competitive in the fourth quarter but, especially without Cade Cunningham, you just can’t keep handing opponents big leads to start the game.

Let’s look at some reasons for this:

Why are Detroit Pistons getting off to such poor starts?

  • Injuries have robbed them of chemistry: With players in and out (and with Cunningham out and still out) with injuries, it has been hard to achieve any kind of connectiveness between the players. You have rookies (Jaden Ivey and Duren) plus newcomers to the squad (Bojan Bogdanovic) who need to be integrated into the lineup, and get used to playing with the others.
  • Indecision what kind of team they are: Detroit started the season with the 6-foot-7 Bogdanovic as the starting power forward. With Cunningham and Ivey in the backcourt, the Pistons were trying to be a quick, small, shooting team. When that did not produce many ‘Ws’ (as well as getting crushed on the boards), they switched to a ‘Two big’ lineup with Isaiah Stewart getting paired first with Bagley, and now Duren.

Those are two completely different styles of play, with different sets on offense and defense. The transition has been, obviously, a bit bumpy.

  • The other team comes out swinging, hoping for early knockout: Most teams start their best players. And at the start of a game, they are fresh and ready to go. The opponents are coming out swinging, and the Pistons have not been doing well taking that first punch. The Pistons, to their credit, get up off the floor and continue fighting, but they take a beating to start.

‘What about Scoot?’ discussions should start soon for Pistons. dark. Next

The bottom line is, the Pistons can’t keep digging holes for themselves they continually have to crawl out of. If this trend continues, there will be more talk about Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson in the draft than will they make the play-in tournament.