• Despite being on their home turf, with the annual draft lottery taking place at the Palmer House Hilton on Monroe Street in Chicago, the ping pong balls determining the Bulls’ draft fate were unkind Thursday night.

    Hoping to defy odds giving them a 5.3 percent chance at the top overall pick and an 18.3 percent chance at a top three selection, the Bulls instead found themselves slipping a spot in the draft order when the Sacramento Kings instead were able to overcome identical odds and move up to the No. 2 position in the 2018 NBA draft.

    After finishing the season with identical records this past season (27-55), the Bulls defeated the Kings in a coin flip last month to get the No. 6 pick heading into the lottery, nudging the Kings to the No. 7 position.

    On Tuesday night, it was the Kings who would have the last laugh as they vaulted up to the top of the draft board, leaping over the Bulls and bumping them down a spot from No. 6 to No. 7.

    It will be a familiar draft slot for Chicago, as they selected forward Lauri Markkanen out of the University of Arizona with the seventh overall selection in last year’s draft after acquiring the pick in the Jimmy Butler deal with Minnesota.

    For the Bulls, there’s no time to fret over what might have been had they lost the coin flip with Sacramento last month (thus receiving the Kings winning combination of ping pong balls), as the NBA draft combine begins tomorrow at Quest Multisport in Chicago and runs through Sunday.

    Potential Bulls targets for the No. 7 pick participating in the combine include Duke forward/center Wendel Carter, Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., Villanova forward Mikal Bridges, and Texas center Mohamed Bamba.

    Despite tonight’s setback, the Bulls will likely have at least two of those four options available to them at No. 7 – as it’s expected consensus top prospects DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, and Jaren Jackson will be selected before the Bulls are on the clock.

    The combine will also be a useful tool for the Bulls to identify potential options for the No. 22 pick they also own thanks to the February trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Nikola Mirotic.

    Portions of the combine will be televised on ESPN2 Thursday & Friday from 3pm-7pm EST.

    Once the combine wraps up Sunday, participants will be given feedback on their performance and expected draft position and will then have until June 11 to withdraw their name from the draft and return to school provided they still have eligibility remaining and have not signed with an agent.

    From there teams will have ten days to finalize their draft boards as the draft will take place on June 21 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

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