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first_imgThe launch of the Starliner capsule today could be the last major step toward once again launching humans into space.The Starliner capsule is scheduled to launch into space and dock with the International Space Station over the weekend, mimicking the flight path it will take when it flies its first manned mission next year. Liftoff is slated for 6:36 am ET.last_img

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersOff to the side, Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson, forward Larry Nance Jr. and center Ivica Zubac often watched the sessions before completing their own offseason routines. None of those players represents the franchise’s glorious past, but each represents something more practical.They are proof of what is attainable for the prospects who worked out for the Lakers over the past month as team officials evaluate their options for the No. 27 and 28 picks in Thursday’s draft.“All of those guys came in with a chip on their shoulder,” Cal sophomore forward Ivan Rabb said. “They came in and worked. It doesn’t really matter where you get picked. All you need is one team to love you. Once you get the opportunity, go out as hard as you can and learn every day.”The Lakers found their recent late first- and second-round picks could contribute almost immediately. Despite the uncertainty that surrounds the long-term potential of the Lakers’ young core, Clarkson (No. 46 in 2014), Nance (No. 27 in 2015) and Zubac (No. 32 in 2016) secured significant roles as rookies. Though Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka want to rebuild with their own vision, the previous front office already provided a template on how to evaluate non-lottery picks.“They don’t get too caught up in the big names,” Kansas State senior forward Wesley Iwundu said of the Lakers. “They go with what fits the team well. That’s what I love about the Lakers organization. If you can play and bring something to the team, they will take you seriously and give you a look.” EL SEGUNDO — For brief moments between scrimmages, shooting sessions and sprints, NBA draft prospects could look around the gym and see some of the symbols and faces that defined the Lakers’ history.Championship banners and retired jerseys hang on the walls of the practice facility.Magic Johnson watched each workout as the Lakers’ new president of basketball operations, casting an inspiring presence as one of the franchise’s most accomplished players.And though Luke Walton monitored the workouts as the Lakers’ head coach, he also provided a reminder of the team’s more recent NBA championship success (2009, 2010). Clarkson, Nance and Zubac have proved worthy of the Lakers granting them looks.Clarkson went from a seldom-used rookie to one who started 38 games before the season was over. He kept that spot during his second season and eventually secured a four-year, $50 million contract.“It shows being picked as late second or late first doesn’t really matter as long as you come in there and seize your opportunity,” Clarkson said. “It’s about the work, what you come in with and what you produce on the floor. A lot of guys get caught up in the media hype and stuff like that. But it’s about, are you going to produce or are you not?“I feel like (that mindset) helped me every day. I’ve been in a lot of roles on this team. So it’s about continuing to do the same thing.”Over the past two seasons, Nance has proved himself as an electrifying dunker, a respected locker-room voice and an energy source coming off the bench.After becoming a fan favorite at last year’s Summer League, Zubac intrigued the Lakers and outside NBA talent evaluators with his long-term upside after becoming the team’s starting center.“They all found their niche and found what they’re successful at in helping a team,” Villanova senior forward Josh Hart said. “They excelled in that. It pays off for them.”The Lakers’ main priority of late involved evaluating UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, Kansas guard/forward Josh Jackson and Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox as possible No. 2 picks.But the Lakers have also worked out dozens of other prospects in consideration for their No. 28 selection — and now potentially the No. 27 pick, after Tuesday’s stunning trade that shipped out guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov for Brooklyn’s late first-round pick and center Brook Lopez — as well as their respective Summer League and training camp rosters.It does not appear the Lakers have narrowed their focus to a few candidates. But Turner Sports NBA analyst Stu Jackson called Hart the most appealing. After helping Villanova to a national championship during his junior season, Hart averaged 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a senior.“You’re getting the consummate team player, a guy that can play well within a system and a guy that is tough and competitive,” Jackson said of Hart. “He’s a seasoned four-year player that has been through some competitive games and has fought through adversity.”The Lakers have a soft spot for overcoming adversity, a trait they saw in Clarkson, Nance and Zubac.After two years at Tulsa, Clarkson spent his junior season at University of Missouri fighting inconsistency while grieving over his father having a form of back cancer that has since subsided.At the University of Wyoming, Nance nursed a season-ending ACL in his right knee midway through his junior season before mononucleosis hampered him during his senior year. Yet, Nance led the Cowboys to the 2015 Mountain West Conference championship and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years.After playing professionally against grown men for three seasons in Europe, Zubac, now 20, impressed the Lakers with his steady growth in his post play, hook shot, jumper, defense and conditioning.“They develop their players big time,” SMU junior forward Semi Ojeleye said of the Lakers. “That’s big time for a young player and a rookie coming in. You’re going to have your struggles and you’re going to have an adjustment being in the big leagues. But it helps if you’re going to go into an organization where they care about you.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more