Updated Miami Heat Championship Odds Through Season's 1st Quarter

Joshua CarrollCorrespondent IIDecember 10, 2012

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 21:  Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat look on during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at AmericanAirlines Arena on November 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The quest for the Heat-peat is a quarter of a way through, but it's time to examine just how realistic this goal is for Miami this year.

With a record of 13-5, they currently rank second in the Eastern Conference behind Carmelo and the New York Knicks, who are still a couple of players of way from full force, yet still hold a 2-0 advantage over the Heat this season.

Nevertheless, Miami has looked ultra-impressive at times, while also dropping games to the likes of the Washington Wizards who are likely to miss the playoffs once again this year.

With the acquisitions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, building chemistry is yet again a key issue for the Heat this season, but it's been some of Miami's most familiar players that have faltered thus far.

Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem have both struggled, but have seemingly picked up the slack in Miami's last game, Wade finishing with 26 points.

As one examines Miami's championship odds through the first quarter of the season, it's important to understand that the NBA season is a process and championship teams get better and better as the season progresses.

Of course, it's easy to be impressed by the 15-5 Knicks, especially when they are missing Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert. And although they've brought on some new veteran leadership, we've seen the Knicks buckle before when the lights shine bright. As of now, I'm going to assume they will do so once again.

Looking across at the Western Conference, the new-look Los Angeles Lakers are battling injuries and struggling along the way. Not fair to judge them right now, but the potential is still there for them to contend for an NBA championship when all is said and done.

The Oklahoma City Thunder still have Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook, so it's safe to put them in the "force to be reckoned with" column.

Aside from the previously mentioned Western Conference teams, it's really wide open for many surprise contenders to make a run this season, including the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been one of the best teams in the league this year.

There are many teams showing they may have what it takes to get it done in the future, but the Heat have already proven that they've got what it takes to win it all, and they've arguably gotten better.

We've seen Ray Allen hit multiple big shots for the Heat this year. We've seen Rashard Lewis come off the bench and give Miami another big man who can stretch the floor. 

As far as the Big Three go, LeBron James is still playing at an MVP-caliber level averaging about 25 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Chris Bosh is becoming more and more comfortable playing center and Wade is finally starting to come around.

As long as this core is in tact for Miami, their championship odds will always be favorable.

Right now, they'd still have to be the favorites to bring it home once again. You know their defense will come around soon enough, and when it does, don't be surprised to see Miami go on a double-digit win streak.

Not to belittle anything other teams are doing across the league, but as of now, the Heat are still the best team in the league despite what their record may say.

Nothing has taken place to steer the NBA off course from a Heat-peat.