The NBA draft lottery is coming to Chicago, just in time for the Bulls' rebuild. The league announced on Thursday that it will conduct its annual ping-pong ball extravaganza for the first time ever outside of New Jersey or New York. It will be held May 15 to streamline the process with the annual draft combine, which has been held in Chicago for years and will take place May 16-20. "The decision by the NBA to move the 2018 Draft Lottery to Chicago is a recognition of our city’s status as a worldwide hub for sports, entertainment and culture," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "The eyes of basketball fans from across the country and around the world will be on Chicago next year, and we look forward to hosting a great event. The NBA is recognizing what the NFL, NHL, MLS and the America’s Cup have all realized in recent years: Chicago is unique in our ability to host world class events and Chicago residents and fans are second to none." Holding the lottery before the combine also behooves teams whose draft position could be affected by the lottery's outcome, allowing them to focus on the proper pool of players. It's how the league previously held the order of events before changing it for unknown reasons.