Technically, it's not the halfway point of the season. That came for most teams around January. But with the All-Star break behind us, the NBA enters the latter half of the regular season, where the quality of play should pick up considerably.
Teams on the bubble will continue to make a push for the playoffs or jostle with their contemporaries for seeding. Potential contenders should be ramping up their effort levels to enter the postseason in their best form.
A similar approach applies to fantasy teams everywhere, were those at the bottom of the standings have lost interest while the others look for any edge they can get. To help serve that goal, here are five mid-week waiver wire pickup options for Week 19 of the NBA fantasy season.Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Offer expires Thursday night! Sign Up Now!
Week 19 Mid-Week Waiver Wire Pickups
Kevin Porter Jr. - SG - Cleveland Cavaliers
On a team already set in the backcourt, Kevin Porter Jr. was always going to have to fight for playing time with the Cleveland Cavaliers if he wanted to show what he could do.
Since returning from injury in late January, the only time Porter has scored fewer than 10 points came in the three outings he played fewer than 20 minutes. During this stretch as a whole, the rookie is averaging 14.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals in 25.2 minutes per game.
He's also shooting 48.7 percent from the field while draining 1.8 of his 3.8 attempts per game from beyond the arc.
Taken with the 30th pick in last June's draft, the Cavs had planned to bring the 19-year-old along slowly to further his improvement, but now is usually the time for lottery-bound teams to ramp up the development of their young players.
As Cleveland, firmly outside the playoff picture, looks for any sliver of hope for the future, expect the coaching staff to continue utilizing Porter, allowing the numbers to materialize and the talent grow.
Harry Giles - PF/C - Sacramento Kings
Having declined his rookie option, the Sacramento Kings haven't valued Harry Giles III much since they traded for him on draft night in 2017. But with injuries to Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III, they haven't had any other choice in the frontcourt.
It's been the last two games, in particular, where Giles has shown his stuff, averaging a double-double with totals of 27 points, 21 rebounds, and six assists combined, all in just 27.7 minutes a game.
Both Holmes and Bagley are suffering from injuries that could very well keep them on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. Alex Len is the only other center on the roster, having been acquired in the deal that shipped off Dewayne Dedmon.
That opens up a lot of opportunities for Giles. A free agent this coming summer, expect him to take full advantage with a new contract on the line.
Justin Holiday - SG/SF - Indiana Pacers
Justin Holiday has had an up and down regular season for the Indiana Pacers, but circumstances surrounding the team continue to alter, and his role may be in a state of flux because of it.
Despite being back on the court, Victor Oladipo is nowhere near the form that made him a two-time All-Star. He's already missed three games since making his return, and the Pacers are obviously cautious in the times he does suit up.
Jeremy Lamb was getting 28.1 minutes a game, but those minutes will have to be filled elsewhere on account of the unfortunate ACL tear suffered by the eighth-year guard on Sunday.
In Indy's two most recent games without those two, Holiday scored 12 points on four three-pointers with three steals versus the Raptors followed by 16 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, two three-pointers, and one block against Charlotte.
Oladipo's continued rehab might cut into Holiday's production, but as he progresses, the Pacers will still turn to Holiday to help fill the void left by Lamb's devastating injury.
Naz Reid - C - Minnesota Timberwolves
As Karl-Anthony Towns continues to remain sidelined, the Minnesota Timberwolves have slowly shown more faith in rookie center Naz Reid.
He's gotten at least 20 minutes in each of his last four contests, including three consecutive starts. During that time, Reid has posted averages of 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game.
KAT has missed four straight and will miss at least roughly the next two weeks after fracturing his left wrist. Having traded Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota's options in the middle are slim.
That opens the door for Reid to remain a fixture in the starting lineup, where the early returns are certainly worth a look for those lineups in need of some big-man assistance.
James Johnson - SF/PF - Minnesota Timberwolves
James Johnson hasn't exactly been the model of consistency since joining the Minnesota Timberwolves. A 15-point debut was followed up with three single-digit outings and then back-to-back games in double figures.
Across six games so far, the 10-year veteran has still found ways to fill up the entire box score, averaging 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 three-pointers. Johnson is coming off the bench, but the minutes have remained constant at 25.4 a night.
As the Wolves look for offense amid the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns, they've entrusted Johnson with a greater role than he had down in Miami and have been rewarded with unexpected effort at both ends of the court.
Johnson is unlikely to opt out of the $17 million option he has for the following season. But after being stuck to the bench for so long, he most definitely wants to keep up this level of play to carve out a spot in Minnesota's rotation for next year.