2014 recruits with most NBA potential

Tyus Jones, left, and Emmanuel Mudiay are the top two point guard recruits in the Class of 2014 and both project to be stars in college. Mudiay, however, has a much higher NBA ceiling. Icon SMI, Courtesy of Andrew Shurtleff

Let me begin by saying how much I love watching Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley) run a team. He’s the consummate pass-first point guard who makes all of the correct decisions and knows exactly what he has to do in order to lead his team to a victory. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jones, ranked the No. 1 point guard in the 2014 ESPN 100, lead whatever college program he chooses to a national championship.

However, I’m worried that his game doesn’t quite translate to the NBA level. Will Jones be a terrific floor leader in college? Absolutely, especially if he goes to a program where he is surrounded by numerous offensive weapons.

But I see too much D.J. Augustin in him down the road, and that’s no knock on Jones or Augustin, who is a competent NBA backup point guard. The issues for me -- and also several NBA scouts I have spoken to who have had a chance to watch Jones on multiple occasions -- have to do with Jones’ size (6-foot-1, 171 pounds), lack of explosiveness and athleticism, and a mediocre perimeter shot.

“I think he’s probably a guy that will wind up getting drafted somewhere in the middle of the first round,” one veteran NBA scout told me in July. “But I just don’t see it at our level. I think he’s a career backup.”

That said, there are plenty of prospects in the 2014 high school class with huge NBA upside. Let’s take a look at 10 recruits in the class who have the most NBA potential.

1. Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Euless Trinity)

He’s a legit 6-11, 225 pounds, is extremely skilled and has just started to come into his own. The Dallas native has a size-21 shoe, can step out and make shots and is also able to score in the post. NBA guys love length and potential, and Turner possesses both. Turner, who could become a LaMarcus Aldridge-type down the road, has a final eight of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Arizona and Ohio State.