The £30m man from Roma saw his debut campaign at White Hart Lane blighted by form and injuries, but has started all seven of Spurs' Premier League games this term.
Waddles sees improvements in Lamela's performances, but feels that it may be one more year until the 22-year-old has fully adapted to English football.
"I think the Italian league is very slow it's very open, until you get into the 18-yard box you don't really come into contact with players," he told the London Evening Standard "You could get to 38-40 and play in Italy, I could play in Italy for a season.
"I think Lamela enjoyed that, it was more possession and you bide your time until you get to the penalty area, but he comes to the Premier League where all of a sudden it's 100 miles per hour.
"He's adjusting, he's getting better and people forget he's still young, next year - hopefully he'll improve this year - and next year, if he's ever going to do it, it'll be next season."
Lamela has scored one goal in 25 games for Spurs in all competitions since arriving from Italy in 2013.