Basketball-Reference.com: I probably don’t need to tell you this, but I’m going to anyway: the Los Angeles Lakers are torching the NBA right now. They’re currently 12-1, they rank 3rd in the league in offensive efficiency with an ORtg of 111.4, and they have the NBA’s best defense (96.5 DRtg) — better even than the Boston Celtics, whose stifling D was one of the major reasons the Lakers lost in the NBA Finals this past June. With Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the fold full-time this season, we knew they’d be a formidable team, but I think it’s safe to say they’ve exceeded even their most optimistic expectations going into the season.
Exactly how good have the Lakers been so far? Well, here at Basketball-Reference.com, one of our favorite tools for measuring team quality is something we call the “Simple Rating System“. It’s basically a team’s average point differential per game, but also adjusted for strength of schedule, and we’ve already proven that it’s one of the best predictors of future performance available. Through 13 games, the Lakers’ SRS is an eye-popping 14.00, easily tops in the league (Cleveland is 2nd with 9.64).
Just for comparison’s sake, last year’s Celtics, who streamrolled the league en route to 66 wins and an NBA title, had an SRS of “only” 9.31. In fact, the best full-season SRS mark ever belongs to the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks, who also rolled up 66 wins and an NBA crown, thanks to the efforts of Oscar Robertson and league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Their SRS score that year? 11.91, more than two points per game worse than L.A.’s current clip.
Here’s the list of the NBA’s all-time best teams by SRS: