Maverick briefs: The value of blue-collar workers, plus Luka’s health update – The Official Home of the Dallas Mavericks – Mavs.com

Former Maverick Jae Crowder’s impressive career has been every bit as prosperous in his time with the Phoenix Suns.

He joined the Suns last season and they rolled to the NBA finals before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Crowder, taken by the Mavericks in the second round of the 2012 draft, hit 38.9 percent of his 3-pointers last season, the second-best mark of his 10-year career, and averaged 10.1 points and 4.7 rebounds.

He’s off to a similar start this season as the Suns hauled a 10-game winning streak into Friday’s game with the Mavericks.

Crowder is a little like Dorian Finney-Smith. Typically, neither one lights up the box score with glittery numbers. But they almost always have a positive impact on the game.

In the first half alone Friday night, Crowder didn’t score, yet the Suns were plus-7 when Crowder was on the floor.

“He makes plays you may not see in the stat sheet. I know that’s a cliché, but he’s a prototype for that,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “And he’s not afraid to take big shots. And if you look at his career, he’s been part of a lot of winning. And we value that, for sure.

“There is value in having guys like Jae on your team, in your locker room, on the bus. Jae has leadership qualities that have helped our program grow immensely – the way he goes around the gym and spends time with all the players in different groups says a lot about him and really helps our team.

“I don’t know a lot about Finney-Smith, but if he’s anything like Jae, I’m sure they value that.”

Jason Kidd certainly does. No Maverick is asked to do more of the blue-collar work on the court than Finney-Smith.

“When you look at Dorian, undrafted, has worked every day at his craft and has had success, it just shows who he is,” Kidd said. “You don’t have to call a play for him. He wants to do all the dirty work. To have that type of player on your team, that’s part of a championship-caliber team. And that’s what Dorian is. He’s a winner.

“He’ll get 2 or 3 shots (per half). But he’s not afraid of the moment. And he’s not afraid to guard anybody. And that’s what we need.”

Dončić, Kleber updates: Luka Dončić on Friday missed his second game in a row with sprains to his left knee and ankle.

Kidd said the outlook is improving, but gave no clear indication of whether the superstar point guard will be available Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

In addition, Maxi Kleber missed his ninth consecutive game with a left oblique muscle strain.

“We’ll see tomorrow (Saturday) at practice and see how they participate, how they feel and then have more information for Sunday,” Kidd said.

As for the progress Dončić is making, Kidd said: “He did some stuff today (Friday). We’ll practice tomorrow and hopefully he’ll (feel better) on Sunday afternoon.”

Kidd happy to hear “the best” is going to the rafters: Kidd was happy to hear the announcement that Dirk Nowitzki’s No. 41 jersey will be retired officially and raised to the rafters on Jan. 5.

Kidd and Nowitzki were guiding forces on the only Mavericks squad to win an NBA championship.

“It’s a great honor for a young man to come from Germany here to the states and play the game at the highest level and to be recognized, not just by the Mavs, but to be one of the top 75 players to ever play,” Kidd said. “For (owner Mark) Cuban and for us as teammates and Mavs fans, it’s going to be an incredible day to see the best go up to the rafters.”

Briefly: Kidd had nothing but good things to say about Trey Burke, who had played just one of the previous eight games but was called on for 15 minutes of playing time Wednesday with Dončić sidelined. “Trey’s been a great pro,” Kidd said. “He hasn’t played a lot of minutes up until (Wednesday). It just shows the character and being a pro and coming to work every day, waiting to be called upon. And when he was, I thought he did a great job for us.” Burke had 10 points and hit both of his 3-point attempts . . . The Mavericks were scheduled to fly to Los Angeles after Friday’s game and have a practice Saturday, which probably also will serve as their shootaround for Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. game against the Clippers.

Twitter: @ESefko