I haven't delved too much into scheduling matters, but Bradford Doolittle's Basketball Prospectus piece on strength of schedule got me thinking. Brad used his 2009-10 projections to assert the Kings will have the fifth most difficult schedule next season. I imagine the projections closely link to 2008-09 performance with adjustments made for the biggest personnel moves; for instance, Brad notes the Spurs are his system's current 2009-10 favorite, and I have no doubt replacing Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas with Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess and DeJuan Blair is a big part of that.
Well, it's because teams like the Kings don't get to play against ... the Kings. Replace four games against a .500 team with four games against .207 (or 17-win) team, and the preseason strength of schedule looks different. In fact, it looks drastically different: the actual .512 opponent winning percentage would become a .497 opponent winning percentage if the Kings were able to play against themselves four times instead of a .500 team (like Phoenix).
That's why you see a real stratification (with some outliers, like Denver and Charlotte) in Brad's list: bad West teams --> bad East teams and middling West teams --> good West teams and middling East teams --> good East teams. Cleveland's schedule looks weak in part because Cleveland doesn't have to play against Cleveland, et cetera.