NBA Playoffs 2012: Can the Spurs Big-Men Outlast the Jazz?

Garrett JochnauCorrespondent IIApril 29, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 27:  Tim Duncan #21, DeJuan Blair #45 and 	Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs talk during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on March 27, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Spurs defeated the Suns 107-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs' lack of size was exploited last year by Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in the first round if the playoffs.

Now the first round brings with it the Utah Jazz, a team whose strength focuses on their plethora of bigs. 

Gordon Hayward, Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap fill the starting spots of the Jazz's frontcourt, while Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter provide excellent depth.

The Spurs have been one of the league's best teams, but their lack of size has been their glaring weakness throughout the season. 

While many believe the Jazz have no chance at upsetting the Spurs, a handful of people believe that the Jazz's size will allow them to make some noise and put up a strong fight.

However, unlike last year, the Jazz's big men do not have an extreme advantage over San Antonio. Tim Duncan's numbers have improved, and while Antonio McDyess may be retired, this season's big men are far better than last year.

Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair are beginning to become consistent threats, and the signing of Boris Diaw provides a great backup option at the power forward position. Even the addition of Stephen Jackson improves their situation, as Jackson stands at 6'8'', making him oversized for his usual small forward position.

DeJuan Blair is an undersized center whose size has proved to be a major liability against teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, whose frontcourt features two seven-footers. However, in Utah, Paul Milsap is also undersized, his 6'8'' height only giving him a one-inch advantage over Blair. 

The lengthy Kawhi Leonard also gives them a size advantage over last year's smaller team. Tim Duncan will have to continue to out-rebound opponents this season, as he is the center piece of the Spurs' frontcourt.

So far this season, the Spurs have played the Jazz four times and have emerged the victors in three. The Jazz's single win came in a game in which Gregg Popovich left stars Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker back in San Antonio.