Joseph is considered the better ball handler and distributor while Newton is a better penetrator and scorer. Joseph is the tenth best PG & 51st overall on ESPN, 56th best prospect by Rivals & 32nd overall and 8th best PG by 247 Sports. Newton is ranked the 13th best PG & 67th best overall prospect by ESPN, 41st best prospect by Rivals & 36th overall and 9th best PG by 247 Sports. Obviously, they are extremely close in terms of where they are ranked amongst their Class of 2014 peers.
About Joseph, ESPN writes that Joseph is "long and lanky & projects as a well built guard once his frame fills out. He has good versatility with the ball in his hands and is able to attack the defense in a number of ways. He has the handle to stay composed vs. pressure or create his own offense making quick changes of direction with the ball. He has a good looking shooting stroke off both the catch and the dribble, sees the court well, and plays very unselfishly. He projects as a major defensive weapon down the road as well with his quickness and long arms" I think Joseph could be a terror at the top of the zone with his length.
About Newton, ESPN writes that "there are some guys who have the knack for getting to the rim. Newton is certainly one of those players. Give him a crack and he's apt to split the seam and get all the way to the rim. He's an above average finisher but exceptional get-by guard. If you had to slap a label on his you go with scoring guard and put the emphasis on slasher. This is a tough-minded player who doesn't shy away from any form of contact. Can also act as a secondary handler and decision maker." The fact that they seem to indicate Newton as a secondary ball handler concerns me for his future as a PG. He may be best suited for a Brandon Triche combo guard type role, but I think the bigger need for Syracuse is a pure PG, because the way Ennis has been playing so well for Canada this summer, I don't expect him to be at Syracuse that long, so they will need a bona fide PG to take over once Ennis leaves.
While this info leads me towards favoring Joseph over Newton, one additional factor has to be considered: taking Newton may improve Syracuse's chances for Isaiah Whitehead. After the Mary Kline Classic, Whitehead & Newton have been saying they'd like to play together in college. While that may be just talk (Whitehead also talked about teaming up with both Jermaine Lawrence and Chris McCullough at Syracuse back in the day), it certainly can't hurt SU's chances. Whitehead could be the best pure scorer at Syracuse since Carmelo Anthony. While Whitehead has also been considered a diva and ball hog, he is rumored to be improving in those areas: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/dave-telep/post?id=3910 (ESPN Insider); essentially saying that he has matured and doesn't pout when things aren't going his way like he used.
If taking Joseph then "disqualifies" Syracuse from the Whitehead sweepstakes, then Syracuse may end up with only two prospects in this class (McCullough & Joseph). Syracuse is also recruiting Goodluck Okonoboh, but there hasn't been much news about his recruitment and I fear Syracuse may have fallen behind pursuing Joseph & Whitehead. I do, however, think Okonohoh would fare best at Syracuse then virtually any other school because he currently plays in a 2-3 zone at his prep school and playing in Syracuse's zone would enable him to maximize his best & most marketable asset in terms of his future as an NBA prospect: his shot blocking. Syracuse could also benefit from "banking" the left over scholarship for the 2015 class because their currently would be a scholarship crunch (which may be alleviated if Jerami Grant or others leave early) for the 2015 Class in which Syracuse is already heavily targeting Isaiah Briscoe, Malachi Richardson, Derrick Jones, Cheik Diallo, & Thomas Bryant.
So if you were Boeheim, and both Newton & Joseph were prepared to commit to Syracuse, which one would you choose?