Unlike the start of the 2012-13 season, the Miami Heat aren't going to let championship fatigue impede them from starting off their title defense with the type of play that put them in their rare position.
The 14-3 Heat have taken advantage of a relaxed schedule that ramps up later this week with a four-game road trip, which includes stops in Chicago, Minnesota and, the last Eastern Conference matchup of any interest, Indiana. They are winners of their past 10 and are a few free throws and timely jumpers away from being undefeated.
Their three losses have come by a combined six points, two coming by only one, one coming on a buzzer-beater. They're the only team in the NBA to have not lost a game by double digits, with their biggest loss of the season being a four-point defeat at Philadelphia's home opener.
Miami has taken on and defeated whatever competition its schedule has delivered thus far, including home wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks. The Heat will face their first real tests of the season when they take on two of the league's top defensive teams, including one that is setting historical marks, over the next week.
But the Heat seem ready to embrace a challenge from an elite opponent, which have been few and far to come by in the diluted Eastern Conference. With Derrick Rose no longer a threat this year, the Pacers may just be the only team in the East capable of dethroning the Heat.
Fortunately for Miami, this year's Heat team may be the best of the Big Three era. LeBron James is about to create his own historically significant standard of efficiency, while Dwyane Wade is bearing more of a resemblance to the former MVP candidate he once was. The depth of the roster is also showcased on a regular basis, led by early-season surprises in Norris Cole and Michael Beasley.
With all but one player, only because of injury, being utilized at some point this season, the roster has shown that it is more than capable of leading another championship run and becoming the first teams since the 2000-03 Los Angeles Lakers to win three consecutive titles.
We take a look at how each member of the Heat roster has fared, grading them on a criteria that includes how they've played, as well as their expectations leading into the season.
All statistics via Basketball-reference.com unless otherwise noted.