No, I think it could all work. You just have to shuffle things around a bit. Just don't break everything into arcs the way mangas tend to.
Start the show with finding the first Dragonball, and the rivalry to gather them before Emporer Pilaf, but hint at King Piccolo's existance from the get. Build up the finale being both "finding the last Dragonball" and "stopping King Piccolo."
To draw another Xiaolin Showdown analogy, make Piccolo the "Wuya" and Pilaf the "JAck Spicer"
The Red Ribbons, if you use them, can be a third party antagonist to keep things interesting, as all three parties are vying for the Dragonballs.
You can keep it more interesting and draw the search out by doing away with the Dragon Radar concept, and have everyone do more treasure hunting/finding clues to the locations of the Dragonballs