Many experts and journalists believe Brandon Ingram is one of the rising stars in the NBA.

The Los Angeles Lakers small forward often receives praise from the coaching staff and many experts believe he could be as good as Kevin Durant since he is a natural-born finisher and a player who can become a mismatch for any defense due to his height and scoring ability.

However, Ingram has not lived up to expectations thus far. His rookie year was decent, although many experts believe he should have scored far more points. And he has not gained enough weight to become a force in the paint or develop an adequate post game. He is mostly confined to be a perimeter threat, but his shooting from long range isn’t that good to begin with. So yes, it is quite complicated to assess him. It’s so hard, that even the Lakers do not know which direction his career will take.

But one thing is clear. His ceiling is quite high. And even though he is not your typical small forward, Ingram has lots of talent. If he continues to put in the work, he has enough potential to become a world-class scorer and a cornerstone for the Lakers franchise in the next decade or so.

The numbers do show some improvement. Ingram averaged 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his rookie year. In the current season, however, he is averaging 15.7 points, 5.3 boards, and 2.9 assists. That’s progress. But it only takes to see him a few minutes during an actual game to see just how much he has improved in his game.

Take Wednesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors as an example. Ingram is coming off a sensational performance against the reigning NBA champions and even though Golden State edged the Lakers 127-123 in OT, the loss can’t be blamed on Ingram’s shoulders. The former Duke standout finished with 32 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. He filled the stat sheet nicely and produced the highest scoring output in his career.

If we look at Ingram’s shooting stroke, he has a thing or two of Durant’s shooting form. He needs to bulk up and polish a few aspects of his game, but the talent is there. And if we consider he is only 20 years old, he has all the time in the world to keep improving.

We still won’t know whether he becomes the second coming of KD or not. But the talent is there, and this season he has improved by leaps and bounds. Ingram looks a new player this year, and all signs indicate he will become a huge piece for the Lakers going forward. Him and Lonzo Ball could get the Lakers back to relevancy sooner than later.