Potential is defined as “Possible, as opposed to actual.”

This is the matrix Knicks forward Anthony Randolph has been trapped in since the Golden State Warriors selected him with the 14th overall pick in the 2008 draft after only one season at Louisiana State University. At the time he was a skinny teenager with seemingly worlds of ability.

But today, in his third season in the NBA, the 21-year-old Randolph’s production has not equaled his talent.

Still a relative baby in basketball terms, he nonetheless seems to be at a crossroads. Randolph is a seldom used player who is frequently the subject of media reports as one of the pieces the Knicks are considering utilizing to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni has relegated Randolph’s playing time to situations when the outcome of games are solidly decided, such as last Friday at MSG, when he was inserted late in the fourth quarter in a 113-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 21-year-old Randolph was acquired by the Knicks last summer from the Golden State Warriors as part of the trade that sent David Lee out west. He arrived with much promise that has been unfulfilled.

“Of course as a player and competitor you always want to be in the game when you can help your team win,” said Randolph of his role in mop duties after playing only five minutes against the Lakers. “Right now I’m kind of in a position where I have to try to make the most out of any minutes I get.”

As far as the trade rumors, Randolph is pragmatic in his outlook.

“It’s a business,” he determined. “When I came out of college at such a young age into the league it was stressed to me that it’s not just a game anymore and there are things you have to deal with outside of the basketball court.

“It’s just a part of it. I just have to keep working hard and try to get better and make the most of my minutes when I’m out there… It’ll happen!”