A team rating that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule. The rating is denominated in points above/below average, where zero is average.
2009's top five
8.68 Cavaliers (66-16)
2008's top five
9.31 Celtics (66-16)
1996's top five
11.80 Bulls (72-10)
Why am I bringing up this rating? I figure it'd be interesting to see where the teams rank after only a week.
2010 Eastern Conference
16.48 Celtics (6-0)
2010 Western Conference
1.99 Lakers (4-1)
The Celtics are destroying opponents and going by SRS it looks like they can legitimately challenge the Bulls 72 wins, as Rasheed Wallace predicted.
The Lakers on the other hand, have to be considered VERY fortunate to be 4-1. They have gone to OT their last two games against mediocre opponents, while also dropping a game to the Mavericks. They could very easily be 2-3 had a few things gone differently (or if the schedule were tougher). They are currently playing without Pau Gasol, which is obviously the reason for their struggles. It is very doubtful the Lakers will be able to keep winning without Gasol, and the sooner they get him back, the more likely they are to win the conference.
All in all, these rankings are actually pretty spot on regarding the team talent and where we'd expect them to finish. If I were told the east rankings were end of the season numbers, I'd believe it. The west is a little more topsy turvy, as aside from the Gasol-less Lakers, the Thunder & Rockets are surprising teams, while the Jazz are off to yet another slow start. The Grizzlies have the 3rd worst SRS despite all that offensive talent... they are dead last in Defensive Rating allowing 117.7 pts per 100 possessions. Boston on the other hand, is allowing only 90.4 pts per 100 possessions, which is nothing short of incredible. I picked them to win the title this year, and with this start, I have no reason to change my prediction.