Eight games into the 2012-13 NBA regular season, one Los Angeles franchise is 6-2 and the other is 3-5. While this story has a far too familiar ring to it, there is an alteration from what we're used to witnessing.
It is the Clippers who own Los Angeles at 6-2. Until the Lakers figure out what in the world they're doing systematically, that will not change.
As the Lakers prepare to play for their third coach in as many weeks, the Clippers are riding a wave of confidence. Thus far, they've defeated the likes of the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies.
Oh, and that 105-95 victory against the Lakers.
With this level of early season success, Chris Paul and the Clippers have established themselves as one of the Western Conference's elite. The Lakers, meanwhile, have fallen to 3-5 and lost to the Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz and, of course, the Clippers.
When matched with the conference's elite, the Lakers have fallen short. When up against the same level of competition, the Clippers have achieved victory.
Although the city of Los Angeles remains the Lakers' by default, the Clippers rule L.A.
Level Playing Field
One of the least reported facts from the 2012-13 NBA season was the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers made it to the same stage of the postseason. Upon reaching the Western Conference semi-finals, each team fell by a significant margin.
The Lakers lost 4-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder while the Clippers were swept out by the San Antonio Spurs.
As we entered the 2012-13 NBA season, that created what can only be described as a level playing field. With this being established, the evaluation of which team is further along in the development process begins now.
So far, the Clippers are out-dueling the Lake Show.
Preparing for Mediocrity
When the Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown, there was an international expectation that the franchise was preparing to hire the legendary Phil Jackson as his replacement. Unfortunately, events did not go as planned.
The Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni.
This is not to say that D'Antoni is incapable of leading the Lakers to their goal of an NBA championship. Instead, it is a simple evaluating of his track record.
Upon doing so, it is clear that D'Antoni's offensive-minded style is a virtual preparation for postseason shortcomings.
The Clippers, meanwhile, appear to have the most depth of any team in the NBA. Paired with superstars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, you have yourself a legitimate title contender.
Is it outrageous to believe that the Lakers derailed their own chances of winning an NBA championship just as the Clippers solidified their own?
Winning the City
For diehard Lakers fans who claim Los Angeles will forever be theirs, try to remember how the franchise took over the city to begin with. For those unfamiliar with history, they achieved the feat by committing one simple act.
Truth be told, the Lakers will be Los Angeles' team until the Clippers win an NBA championship. Even still, they'll need to tack on a few more titles before they can even enter the conversation of becoming the more prominent franchise.
Until the Lakers prove that they are not the most talented bottom-feeder in NBA history, however, it will be the Clippers who rule L.A. in 2012-13.