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Underlying issues during Pistons hot start doomed them against the Celtics

NBA: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There was a bit of a kerfuffle on Pistons Twitter toward the end of last week, after Andre Drummond tweeted about how he plays for his teammates rather than for fans.

One local media entity (yes, the one you’d expect to run with it) ran with it to generate some regular nonsense about how Drummond doesn’t play for fans, is criticizing them, junk like that.

Of course, Drummond’s tweet was entirely reasonable and normal. No, don’t go playing to appease your team’s fans. And he’s right, nothing ever does satisfy a team’s fans.

But also, some of the rumbling from fans out of their 4-0 start were valid. Those issues were on display last night against the Celtics.

Over-reliance on Blake Griffin

In the first four games, Blake was superhuman. The Celtics shut him down, with Griffin finishing with just 7 points on 2-13 shooting. His teammates need to get him some help.

Pretty much the only success the Pistons had offensively were Stanley Johnson and Andre Drummond hitting a lot of shots they won’t typically make this season (unless you think Drummond making 14 foot turnaround fallaway bank shots is going to be a common thing). We’re at two straight games of Drummond not taking any three point shots - which is great. But last night, half of his 12 shots came from outside five feet from the rim. Nice shooting numbers last night, great - but also, he’s generally not going to go 4-6 on those shots.

Reggie Bullock and Langston Galloway continue to struggle to knock down shots, it’d be nice to see both of those two break out of their slump. Reggie Jackson no longer seems to be the threat attacking the basket that he used to be. When Ish Smith is your second most dangerous offensive weapon, that’s not ideal.

Shot selection and ball movement

Last year the Pistons took 37 percent of their shots between the restricted area and the three point line. This year that number is 35 percent.

After all this talk about the shot spectrum, it’d be nice to see it implemented a bit more rigorously. So far this season, they’re 25th in the league in true shooting percentage and 29th in the league in assist percentage.

Shooting efficiency has been such a long-standing issue with this team that seeing the problem staying the same even after bringing in a new coach is definitely worth continuing to monitor.

Team defense

At least, that’s what I should have here. But I’m honestly still not overly concerned about the defense at this point - I think the offensive side of the ball are the team’s bigger issues right now.

Yes, the Celtics laid down a whooping on the Pistons and it always feels like the defense is a culprit when that’s the case. And certainly, the Pistons haven’t been playing really good defense so far this season. With the personnel on this team, it’s unlikely that they’re going to be a top five defense.

But last night the Celtics hit some pretty tough shots and the Pistons were missing at such a high volume, pushing the pace getting back on offense also created some nice looks for them as well.

At the end of the day, the Pistons fall to 4-1, which is still a really nice start for this squad. While it’s easy and understandable for players to get annoyed with fans for pointing out flaws during win streaks, last night serves as a reminder as to why they’re not always wrong for doing so. Even when it has a perfect record, this team definitely isn’t perfect.

After their rematch with the Celtics, the schedule continues to favor the strong start for the Pistons - they’ll take on the Nets on Wednesday, then after a visit to the 76ers they’ll go on a tour of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference.