The Miami Heat are currently sitting atop the Eastern Conference with a 12-3 overall record.
That's not too shabby for a team with a huge target on their back and some new talent to integrate into their system.
Even if the Heat were 15-0, there would still be a large group of haters out there focused on proving why the Heat aren't as good as they appear. Doubting the Heat and their potential has become a hobby for a number of people.
Doubting the Heat is starting to get old though. Ahead are 10 reasons why doubting the Heat is overrated.
After an exciting comeback against the Brooklyn Nets to start of the month of December, the Heat became the top team in the Eastern Conference, with a 12-3 overall record.
A lot of experts say, "stats don't lie," and, well, in this case I couldn't agree more.
While the Heat's defense has been questionable this season, and they've played down to their competition in a number of games, you can't argue with the success the Heat have had this year.
They overpower teams with the NBA's second-most potent offense, averaging 104.8 points per game. And they also have the chemistry that other newly formed super teams lack. The Heat are the team to beat in the East, and that should be enough for doubters to stop the hating.
We've all heard of the new "super teams" in the NBA.
The Los Angeles Lakers have Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash—if he ever gets back into the lineup. The Brooklyn Nets have Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace. The New York Knicks have Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.
Okay, you get the idea. Those teams certainly have talent that is close to being on the same level as the Heat. But the one thing those teams don't have is chemistry.
It took losing the 2011 NBA Championship to the Dallas Mavericks for the Heat to realize that chemistry was more important than talent. But that failure led to the Heat becoming a true team rather than a group of individual stars trying to win titles by themselves.
Chemistry is an enormous part of success in the NBA, and the Heat have it. Other teams, like the Lakers, Nets and Knicks, don't have that yet, and that's going to be important as the season continues on.
It would be one thing if the Heat had lost talent this offseason. But after winning the 2012 NBA title they only got stronger, acquiring Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen.
In my book, when you're the reigning NBA champs and you added more high-caliber talent in the offseason, that's a clear sign of moving in the right direction.
Until the Heat are knocked out of playoff contention or the playoffs—when we get there—they are the team that has the 2012 Larry O'Brien Championship trophy in their clubhouse and that has to mean something.
You can't just negate a team's previous success, especially when they haven't lost any talent and they started off the season with a 12-3 record.
Haters are always going to hate, but it's becoming more and more clear that previous success isn't something that the Heat's detractors can realistically point to.
You can't buy championships. Actually, let me clarify that. If you're the New York Yankees you can buy championships.
But every other professional sports team can't buy championships.They have to at least wait until chemistry is developed between the talent on their team.
We saw that clearly during the 2011 NBA Finals when a less talented Dallas Mavericks team humiliated the newly "purchased" Miami Heat.
Chemistry was the difference maker in that series and it will be the difference maker when the Heat go up against other elite teams this season. The only difference is that now, the chemistry will be in the Heat's favor.
While on-the-court chemistry is important, the Heat also have chemistry in the locker room. They've figured out how to interact with each other, coaches and staff, and that's an important part of long-term and long-lasting success.
Championship-caliber teams find ways to win. They find ways to beat teams they shouldn't and they find ways to win games that they don't deserve to against lesser talent.
The Heat haven't exactly beaten all the teams competing with them to be the best in the NBA, like the New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies. But they have found ways to win games that they should've lost.
For example, take a look at their game against the $250,000 version of the Spurs.
Sure, on paper the Heat should have demolished them. While it wasn't a pretty win, the Heat were able to come from behind and ultimately pull away with the leadership of LeBron. It was an ugly game, but a team without leadership and championship-caliber talent would've let it slip away.
An overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks and a two-point win against the Cleveland Cavaliers may seem like negatives. But winning close games and finding ways to overcome slow starts and underperforming is a valuable asset to have.
How many players have won at least three NBA MVP trophies over the span of their careers?
Yeah, that's right. Only eight players can claim that honor, and LeBron James is one of them.
The other elite players in that category are Moses Malone (3), Magic Johnson (3), Larry Bird (3), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Bill Russell (5), Michael Jordan (5) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6). That's pretty elite company to be with.
I shouldn't have to say anymore here. I'll let LeBron's three NBA MVP awards do the talking.
Last year the Heat relied a lot on their defensive prowess, specifically behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
This year it's a different story. They Heat's defense isn't terrible, but it certainly has holes in it, especially when Ray Allen steps on the court.
Giving up 100.3 points per game, which ranks 23rd in the NBA, is pretty bad compared to last year's defense. Luckily that's not an issue because the Heat are showing that they can win with their offense alone.
The Heat have shown that they can pick up the defense when they need to, and that's integral to continuing to develop throughout the year. They've also shown though that the 104.8 points per game they are averaging is enough to overpower almost every other team in the NBA.
Teams can't really stop the Heat on offense. They can only hope to contain them, and that's still quite a tall task.
Yes, yes, we've all heard the talk about whether LeBron is capable of carrying the Heat in the clutch.
Even if his performance in last year's NBA Finals didn't convince you of his abilities, the good news is that we don't have to talk about it anymore thanks to the addition of Ray Allen to the Heat's lineup.
As we've already seen this season, Ray Allen is now the go-to-shooter in the clutch, and rightfully so. He's the purest shooter on the Heat and he's already sank a few daggers this season—most recently against the San Antonio Spurs.
If, for some reason, opposing defenses decide to key in on him, then LeBron James will have an easy time getting into the paint and either finishing at the rim or getting to the free-throw line.
The point is, with Allen, the Heat have just too many options late in games with the game on the line. Oh yeah, don't sleep on that Dwyane Wade guy's clutch abilities either.
Dwyane Wade certainly has questions surrounding his ability to stay healthy for the majority of the season. Without LeBron James on the team, that would be a major issue.
With LeBron leading the way though, the Heat can afford to let Wade rest if he needs to. In all honesty, the Heat, at times, appear to be a better team with Wade on the bench.
Last year, the Heat were 14-1 with Wade on the bench and LeBron in the lineup. This season it's been more of the same, with LeBron leading the Heat to a perfect 3-0 record with Wade out of the lineup.
No, the Heat don't need to trade Wade. They have the luxury of letting Wade rest when he needs to, which means as the season goes on, Erik Spoelstra can control Wade's minutes more to prepare for the postseason without putting the Heat in a precarious situation.
There aren't many other teams in the NBA that can rest a star player without worrying about having that move result in a loss. The Heat have that luxury, and it further enhances just how dangerous they are.
The Miami Heat want you to doubt them. They want you to hate on them. And they want you to disregard them as being the best team in the NBA.
Why is that? Well, it's because it fuels their fire and gives them more motivation to go out every night and prove a point.
The Heat have a major target on their back because of the talent on their team and their 2012 NBA title. The doubters not only make that target even bigger, but they also give the Heat a reason to play each and every night—to prove everyone wrong.
The Heat don't really need motivation, but every time someone doubts their abilities, it makes those long road trips and tough home stretches that much easier.