UPDATE 6/3: According to El Nueva Dia, Napier will not be playing for Puerto Rico now.
Original article below:
Per Sportando, the associate director of Puerto Rico's National Team Javier Torres confirmed that Shabazz Napier will play for the Puerto Rican National Team this summer.
Torres stated that Napier is expected to join the team on June 2nd. This means Napier will be available to compete for Puerto Rico in the upcoming Centrobasket Tournament, and also the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Since joining FIBA in 1957, Puerto Rico has participated in nine Olympic tournaments. In 2004, the Puerto Ricans made history in the Olympic games, becoming the first team to beat a United States team comprised of NBA players. Their 19-point triumph is still the largest margain of victory over the United States National Team. Puerto Rico has also appeared in the FIBA Americas Championship 17 times, winning three gold medals.
Napier has had a very tough start to his professional career in the NBA. After Lebron James endorsed Napier coming out of college, expectations for the UConn guard were high enough to make him a first round pick by the Miami Heat. Unfortunately, Shabazz has not shown much thus far in his professional career.
Napier was dealt to the Orlando Magic from the Heat this past offseason. It seemed that Napier would help give the Magic some depth at guard but when point guard Elfrid Payton went down with an injury this past January the Magic opted to use Mario Hezonja as the backup point guard over him.
This past season Napier averaged 3.7 points, 1.8 assists, and 1 rebound per contest. Also he saw much less playing time, only logging about 11 minutes per game. During his rookie season in Miami, Napier played an average of about 20 minutes per contest.
Not all is lost for Napier as he has still shown flashes of his college self in the NBA. Perhaps, like his teammate at UConn Niels Giffey, he can thrive in international competition and build up his confidence so he can shine on the court once again.