Who knows how the history of the Detroit Pistons might have turned out had they not drafted a great shooting guard from an unheralded college who had largely been passed over because he played for a small school in Louisiana called McNeese St.
He was largely unknown. But when he stepped onto the basketball court, he had a fierce competitive streak in him that wouldn't rest until the team won a championship.
Whatever shortcomings he had, he would work to overcome and would go above and beyond the call to get the job done as a player. He refused to accept defeat.
He was normally the one who forced up the last-second shot attempt at the end of a close game the Pistons were losing. He also normally was the player who wound up guarding Michael Jordan for most of the time whenever they played the Bulls.
He once blocked a shot of the LA Lakers' James Worthy in the 1989 NBA Finals who was seven inches taller than him. When asked when was the last time he blocked a shot, he said, "I dunno, college, maybe."
During the Finals the next season, not even the death of his father could stop him from leading the Pistons back-to-back.
However, that alone can't justify why he's above Isiah Thomas. The reason why he's above Isiah is because after he retired and was made General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, he took a mediocre team and made them great again.
He revitalized the sleeping bad boy persona with players like Ben and Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. He traded the team's leading scorer, Jerry Stackhouse, for a youngster named Rip Hamilton and it paid off in the form of an NBA championship in 2004.
Without Joe D, there is no Three Championship Drive in Auburn Hills, MI.